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Full text of "History of monetary systems: a record of actual experiments in money made by various states of the ancient and modern world, as drawn from their statutes, customs, treaties, mining regulations, jurisprudence, history, archæology, coins, nummulary systems, and other sources of information"

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Author  of  "A  History  of  the  Precious  Metals,"  "  A  History  of  Money 

in  Ancient  States,"  "  Money  and  Civilisation,"  "  The  Science 

of  Money,"  "  The  Politics  of  Money,"  "  Sophisms  of 

Money,"  ^c 





All  rights  reserved. 


npHB  author  concluded  a  former  work  on  Money  in 
J-  these  words  :  —  ''That  which  has  engag-ed  the  atten- 
tion without  harmonising  the  convictions  of  such  master 
minds  as  Aristotle,  Plato,  Tycho  Brahe,  Copernicus,  Locke, 
Newton,  Smith,  Bastiat,  and  Mill,  is  surely  a  study  which 
none  can  afford  to  approach  with  rashness,  nor  to  leave 
with  coaiplacency.  When  the  principles  which  underlie  it 
are  thoroughly  understood,  money  is  pei'haps  the  mightiest 
engine  to  which  man  can  lend  an  intelligent  guidance. 
Unheard,  unfelt,  unseen,  it  has  the  power  to  so  distribute 
the  burdens,  gratifications,  and  opportunities  of  life  that 
each  individual  shall  enjoy  that  share  of  them  to  which 
his  merits  or  good  fortune  may  fairly  entitle  him,  or,  con- 
trariwise, to  dispense  them  with  so  partial  a  hand  as  to 
violate  every  principle  of  justice,  and  perpetuate  a  suc- 
cession of  social  slaveries  to  the  end  of  time.'^  I  begin 
the  present  work  in  the  same  spirit  with  which  I  closed 
the  former  one,  that  is  to  say,  without  bias  concerning 
any  system  of  money,  and  only  anxious  to  examine  and 
profit  by  the  experience  of  the  past. 

The  scope  of  the  work  includes  a  recension  of  my 
former  chapters  on  India,  Greece,  and  Rome,  a  continua- 
tion of  the  Roman  history  from  the  monetary  system  of 
Augustus  to  the  downfall  of  the  Empire,  and  an  examina- 
tion of  the  Merovingian  and  Carlovingian  systems,  the 
Moslem  systems,  the  systems  of  Britain  from  the  earliest 
times  to  the  reign  of  Edward  III,  and  the  systems  of 
Saxony,  Scandinavia,  the  Netherlands,  Germany,  and  the 
Argentine  Republic. 

As  the  monetary  conflicts  of  to-day  turn  mostly  upon 
questions  concerning  the  relative  value  of  gold  and  silver. 



the  origin,  nature,  tendency,  and  influences  of  this  Ratio 
and  its  amenability  to  legal  control,  I  have  taken  especial 
pains  to  trace  its  historical  development  in  all  ages  of 
which  any  coinage  or  other  numismatic  remains  exist. 
In  carrying  out  this  design  a  mass  of  information  has 
been  brought  together  which  can  scarcely  fail  to  be  of 
service  in   future    monetary   discussions. 

The  origin  and  progress  of  Private  Coinage  has  also 
been  an  object  of  attention.  Private  coinage,  or,  as  it  is 
now  euphemised,  "  free  "  coinage,  namely,  the  license 
granted  to  private  individuals  to  coin  the  precious  metals 
without  limit,  or  to  compel  the  State  to  make  coins  for 
them  and  to  confer  upon  such  coins  the  legal  functions  of 
money,  coupled  with  license  to  export  and  melt  down  the 
coins,  was  unknown  to  the  ancient  world.  In  the  great 
states  of  antiquity  money  was  a  pillar  of  the  constitution. 
In  the  republics  of  Greece  and  Rome  it  was  a  social  in- 
strument, designed,  limited,  stamped,  issued,  and  made 
current  by  the  State, — in  short,  invented,  owned,  and  regu- 
lated by  the  State.  It  is  now  generally  admitted  that 
the  so-called  gentes  coins  of  Rome  were  not  of  private 
fabrication,  but  issued  by  the  State,,  and  stamped  with 
the  gens  mark  of  the  State  moneyers.  There  appears  to 
have  been  no  private  coinage  m  Europe  before  the 
issuance  of  Mahomet's  Koran  and  its  scornful  repudiation 
of  the  Roman  religion  and  political  system.  The  baronial 
and  ecclesiastical  mints  of  the  middle  ages,  when  not 
authorised  by  the  German  Empire,  or  by  the  princes  of 
the  Western  States,  were  baronial  or  ecclesiastical  only  in 
name;  they  were  really  '^robbers'  dens,''  and  were  so 
termed  in  the  official  proclamations  of  the  time.  Their 
trade  of  private  coinage  was  both  surreptitious  and  un- 
lawful, and  was  often  expiated  with  the  lives  of  the 
proprietors.  The  Plantagenet  kings  broke  up  some 
thousands  of  them. 

After  the  fall  of  the  Roman  Empire  in  1204  the 
prerogative  of  the  coinage  was  exercised  for  a  brief  period 


by  the  emperors  of  Germany,  but  soon  afterwards  fell  to 
tlie  various  independent  states  that  rose  upon  the  ruins 
of  the  old  Empire.  In  a  process  commenced  by  the 
procureur-general  under  Philip  IV.,  against  the  Comte  de 
Nevers,  for  melting  down  the  coins  of  the  realm,  it  was 
held  that  this  was  a  royal  prerogative  which  belonged  to 
the  king  alone,  and  which  in  case  of  necessity  he  might 
employ,  not  indeed  for  his  private  advantage,  but  in 
defence  of  the  State.  The  prerogative  was,  however, 
much  more  fully  and  completely  laid  down  by  Sir  Mat- 
thew Hale  in  the  celebrated  case  of  the  Mixed  Moneys. 
Its  unwilling  surrender  by  the  Crown  took  place  under 
the  Stuarts.  Events  have  demonstrated  that  the  Act  is 
wholly  inconsistent  with  the  safety  of  the  State,  and  that 
it  demands  revision. 

1  If  in  view  of  the  existing  monetary  conflict,  the  reader 
should  be  led  to  inquire  whether  this  is  a  "  monometallic" 
or  "  bimetallic ''  work,  the  answer  is,  It  is  neither. 
These  terms,  and  many  others  employed  in  the  monetary 
literature  of  to-day,  the  author  regards  as  misleading. 
They  involve  doctrines  which  are  fallacious,  and  defeat  a 
correct  comprehension  of  this  difficult  subject,  by  pro- 
moting the  discussion  of  false  issues,  or  the  adoption  of 
make-shift  or  mischievous  measures.  Monometallism  and! 
bimetallism  both  imply  that  money  consists  of  a  metal  orj 
metals,  and  that  this  is  what  measui'es  value.  The  im- 
plication is  erroneous  ;  the  theory  is  physically  impossible. 
(Value  is  not  a  thing,  nor  an  attribute  of  things;  it  is  a' 
relation,  a  numerical  relation,  which  appears  in  exchange.) 
Such  a  relation  cannot  be  accurately  measured  without 
the  use  of  numbers,  limited  by  law,  and  embodied  in  a 
set  of  concrete  symbols,  suitable  for  transference  from 
hand  to  hand.  It  is  this  set  of  symbols  which,  by 
metonym,  is  called  money.  In  the  Greek  and  Roman 
republics  it  was  called  (with  a  far  more  correct  appre- 
hension of  its  character)  nomisma  and  nummus,  because 
the  law  (nomos)  was  alone  competent  to  create  it.      The 

viii  PREFACE. 

number  of  the  symbols  may  be  limited,  but  rudely  ;  the 
limit  may  even — though  equitably  it  should  uot — be  left 
to  the  chances  of  conquest  or  mining  discoveries,  still, 
repeated  experiments  prove  that  it  is  the  number  of  the 
symbols  that  definitively  measures  value,  not  the  quantity 
or  quality  or  merit  of  the  materials  of  which  they  may  be 
composed,  A  ready  pi'oof  that  it  is  the  numbers  and 
not  material  of  money  which  measures  value  is  this  :  If 
the  sum  or  integer  of  the  symbols  is  altered,  so  will  be 
the  expression  of  value  (the  price)  of  all  thiugs  ;  whereas 
the  material  may  be  altered,  e.  g.  from  gold  to  silver,  or 
from  one  to  both,  or  from  both  to  inconvertible  paper, 
without  at  all  affecting  the  expression  of  value — provided 
that  the  combined  denominations  or  sum  and  legal  function 
of  the  symbols  remain  unchanged. 

These  principles  of  money — namely,  that  Money  is  a 
Measure,  and  must  be  of  necessity  an  Institute  of  Law, 
that  the  Unit  of  money  is  All  Money  within  a  given  legal 
jurisdiction,  that  the  practical  Essence  of  money  is. 
Limitation,  and  that  coins  and  notes  alike  are  Symbols  of 
money — are  fully  disdussed.  and  illustrated  in  my  "  Science 
of  Money."  It  is  true  that  at  the  present  time  their 
operation  is  greatly  obscured  by  the  license  and  abuse  of 
Private  Coinage,  but  even  through  this  bewildering 
medium  they  can  still  be  discerned.  It  is  out  of  the 
confusion  created  by  this  practice,  it  is  from  the  fallacy 
of  mistaking  metal  (which,  apart  from  numbers,  cannot 
measure  value  any  more  accurately  than  barter  can)  for 
money  (which,  apart  from  metal,  can  and  does  accurately 
measure  value)  that  all  contentions  on  the  subject  have 
arisen  ;  nay,  more,  ■  this  confusion  is  to-day  imperilling 
the  peace  of  the  world,  CThe  wheels  of  Industry  are  at 
this  moment  clogged,  and  what  clogs  them  chiefly  is  that 
gross,  that  sensual,  that  materialistic  conception  which 
mistakes  a  piece  of  metal  for  the  measure  of  an  ideal 
relation,  a  measure  that  resides  not  at  all  in  the  metal, 
but  in  the  numerical  relation  of  the  piece  to  the  set  of 


pieces  to  which  it  is  legally  related,  whether  of  metal,  or 
paper,  or  both  combined./  In  short,  it  is  this  "misconception 
which  is  responsible  for  the  Demonetisation  of  Silver  in 
the  Western  world,  and  the  consequences  traceable  to 
that  event. 

While  such  are  the  views  of  the  authoi-,  he  must  do 
himself  the  justice  to  say  that  he  has  not  laid  his  historical 
works  under  contribution  to  support  them,  nor  has  he 
any  currency  scheme  to  propose.  To  entertain,  rightly 
or  wrongly,  a  distinct  conception  of  money,  and  the 
manner  in  which  its  function  is  mechanically  fulfilled,  is 
one  thing  ;  to  apply  such  conception  to  a  given  condition 
of  affairs  is  another.  This  may  only  be  done  by  the 
statesman,  who  is  not  satisfied  to  inquire  what  is  correct, 
but  must  also  know  what  is  practicable  and  what  is 
prudent.  The  political  circumstances  of  each  state  have 
usually  moulded,  and  must  continue  to  mould,  its  monetary 
system  ;  and  rash  are  those  teachers  who  have  sought  or 
who  yet  seek  to  change  it  for  any  other  reason  or  upon 
any  other  grounds. 

These  views  indicate  in  another  Way  the  scope  of  the 
present  work  :  it  is  not  confined  to  gold  money,  nor  silver 
money,  nor  paper  money  ,"  it  embraces  all  money,  and  it 
seeks,  by  analysing  the  various  experiments  that  have 
been  made  with  this  subtle  instrument,  to  derive  from 
them  whatever  light  they  may  be  able  to  throw  upon 
the  questions  that  vex  us  to-day. 


The  foUoicing  list  of  hooks  is  to  he  read  in  connection  icith  the  I iutt  published 
in  the  author's  previous  ivorks  on  the  Precious  Metals  and  Money.  The 
numbers  at  foot  of  each  title  are  the  press-marks  of  the  British  Museum 

Abhaxdlungen  des  Arcliiieolojjisch-Epiirraphisclien  Semiiuires  der  Univer- 
sitiit  W'ien.  Heft  2.  Julius  Duerr,  on  the  Travels  of  Hiulriiiii.  Vienna, 
1883.     Svo.  Ac.  803/2, 

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603,  g,  1,  2. 


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15IBLI0GRAPHY.  xiii 

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author's  opinion  that  money  measures  the  value  of  other  things  by  being 
in  itself  of  one  unvarying  value.  This  unvarying  value  arises  from 
Providence  having  so  distributed  the  precious  metals,  of  which  money 
can  alone  be  made,  that  their  quantity,  upon  the  whole,  cannot  be  sud- 
denly either  much  increased  or  diminished.  They  are  obtained  only  with 
difficulty,  and  as  the  expense  of  mining  or  gathering  them  from  the 
bowels  of  the  earth  becomes  equal  to  the  value  they  bear,  the  work  of 
mining  stops.  The  quantity  of  money  is  much  the  same  at  wW  times. 
As  an  offset  to  these  romantic  notions,  the  book  contains  some  useful 

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pasteboard  dalers  of  Leyden.)  2084,  e. 

De  Luzac  (Jeiin)  :  La  Richessede  la  Hollande.     London,  1778.    2  vols.,  Svo. 

DuERE  (Julius)  :  Die  Reisen  des  Kaisers  Hadrian.  See  Abhand.  des  Archaeol. 
der  Univer.  Wien,  18S3. 

Du  Halde  (Father  Jean  Baptiste,  Jesuit):  History  of  China.  Trans,  into 
Eng.     London,  1736.     4  vols.,  Svo. 

DrEAXD  (David)  :  La  Chute  de  I'Homme,  et  les  Ravages  de  I'Or  et  de 
I'Arsent ;  poeme.  Histoire  Naturelle  de  I'Or  et  de  I'Argent,  extrait 
de  la  Pline.     1729.     Fol.  443,  i,  19. 

DcEEAU  de  la  Malle  (A.  J.  C.  A.) :  Economic  politique  des  Romaines. 
Paris,  1840.     2  torn.,  Svo.  7702,  bb,  7. 

DrxoT:  Finances  and  Commerce  of  France.     1739.     Svo.     Eng.  Trans. 

1139,  k,  15. 

Egypt:  La  Reform e  Monetaire en  Egypte.  Le  Caire,  1885.  4to.  A  collec- 
tion of  interesting  financial  essays. 

ExGLAXD,  Present  State  of.     (Mentions  2d.  and  3d.  sterlings.) 

Fauchee  (Leon) :  Precious  Metals.  Trans,  by  Thomas  Hunkey,  jun.. 
Governor  of  the  Bank.  Eng.     London,  1852.     Svo.  8226,  c,  73. 

Fichte  (J.  G.) :  Tlie  Science  of  Rights.  Trans,  by  A.  E.  Kmeger,  of 
St.  Louis.     Phila.  (Lippincott),  1869.     Svo,  pp.  504.  SOOo,  cec. 

FiLMEE  (Sir  Robert)  :   Discourse  ou  Usury.     London,  1678.     12mo. 

FiXLAT  (George,  LL.D.):  Roman  and  Byzantine  Money,  in  his  Hist,  of 
Greece,  etc.     London,  1877.     7  vols.,  Svo.  2067,  h. 


FiNLAT  (George,  LL.D.):  Greece  under  the  Romans.     Edinburgh,  2ud  edit., 

1857.     8vo.  1306,  k,  9. 

Fleetwood  (Bishop  William):  Chrouicon  Preciosum.    Loudon,  1707.    8vo. 

FOXSECA  (15.  A.  R.):    El  Dii^esto  del  emperador  Justiniano.  TrHUslated  into 

Spani>h,  with  both  the  Latin  and  Spanish  texts,  by  Don  B.  A.  Rodriquez 

de   Fonseca.     Revised  from  an   old  edition   of  1772.     Madrid,   1872-5. 

3  vols.,  4to.  5383,  g. 

FfiEHEKi  (Marquardi) :  De  Re  Monetaria  Veterum  Romanorum.    Lubduni, 

1605,  4to.  812,  e,  6. 
De  Constantiui  Impenitoris  Byzantini  Numismate,  etc.     Paris,  1604. 

4to.     A  reply  to  Sealiger.  '  602,  c,  14  (4). 

Gabcia  (Jose  C'avallero)  :   Breve  cotejo  y  valance  de  las  Pesas  y  Medidas  de 

varios  naciones,  couiparadns  y  reducidas  a  las  que  coireu  en  estos  reynos 

de  Castilla.     Madrid,  1731.    '4to. 
Gent.'s  Magazine,  1756,  p.  465,  and  1812,  p.  331.     Dr.  Samuel  Pegge  on 

the  Liku,  or  Licchus. 
Gibbon  (Edward):    Decline  and  Fall  of  the  Rom.  Emp.      London,  1781. 

2nd  ed.,  6  vols.,  4to. 

■  Miscellaneous  Works.     London,  1815.     3  vols.,  4to. 

Gibbons  :   Pliysics  and  Metaphysics  of  Money,  by  R.  Gibbons.     Xew  York, 

1886.     8vo.     A  pamphlet  which  deuies  that  law  can  create  value  or 

establish  a  monetary  system. 
GiBBS  (Henry  H.) :  A  Colloquy  on  Currency.     London,  2nd  edition,  1895. 

GoDEFEOT  (Denis)  :  Monnoyes  de  France,  par  Denis  Godefroy,  procureur  du 

I'oy  en  la  tour  des  monno\es  (17th  century). 
Ge^carum  The.<aurus  Antiquitatum.     Lugduni  Batavorum,  1699.     12  vols., 

Gbeat  Britain:  An  Account  of  the  Constitution  and  Present  State  of  Great 

Britain.     London,  1760.     8vo. 
Ghonovius  :    De  Numismate  Antiquis;    included  in   Grcecarum   Thesaurus 

{which  see). 
GEOTirs  (Hugo):  De  Jure  Belli  et  Pacis.     Cambridge,  1853.     3  vols.,  8vo. 

Lib.    II.,    c:ip.    xii.,    Michael   Ephesius  t^ays,  and    after  him   Grotius 

repeats  that,  "  whatever  is  adopted  as  the  measure  of  value  ought  to  be 

itself  the  least  subject  to  change.'  " 
GukEABD  :  Polyptique  de  I'Abbe  Irminon.     Edited  and  annotated    by  Benj. 

E.  C.  Guerard.     Paris,  1884.     4to.     This  work  is  one   of   the  Collection 

des  documents  inedits  sur  I'Histoire  de  France.     Its  full  title  is  "Polyp- 
tique de  I'Abbe  Irminon,  ou  Denombremeut  des  Manses,  des  Serfs,  et  des 

Revenues   de   I'Abbaye   de  Saiut   Germain   des   Pres,   sous  le   regne   de 

Charlemagne."     The  annotations  or  "  Eclaircissements  "  of  M.  Guerard 

occupy  pp.  907 — 975. 
GriEANUS  (Gaillardus)  :  Explicatio  duorum  Vetustorum  Xumismatum,  etc. 

Rabanum,  1655.     4to. 
Hale  (Sir  INlatthew) :  Essay  on  Population.  London,  1782.  4to.     436,  d,  24. 

Inrolling  and  Registring  ol  Land  Conveyances.     London,  1664.    4to. 

e,  1973  (4) 

Pleas  of  the  Crown.     London,  1716.     8vo.  6281,  aaa,  13. 

Treatise  on  Sheriffs'  accounts  and  Money.     London,  1683.     8vo. 

883,  h,  g. 
Halhed  (Xathaniel  Brassey) :  Code  of  Gentoo  Laws.    Eng.  Trans.    Loudon, 

1776.     4to. 
Hawkins  (Edward) :  Silver  Coins  of  England.     3rd  ed.,  with  alterations  and 

additions  by  R.  L.  Kenyon.     London,  1887.     8vo.  2032,  d. 


Heiss  (Alois)  :  Description  gencrale  des  Moniiais  Antiques  de  I'Espap^ne, 
Paris,  1870.     4to.  7755,  f. 

DescripcMOu  general  de    las   Monedas    Hispauo-Cristianos.      Madri<i, 

1865-y.  3  vols.,  4to.  (The  best  work  on  the  subject  of  Spmiish 
moneys  yet  met  with.)  7757,  i,  6. 

Monnois  des  rois  Visigoths  d'Espagne.     Paris,  1872.     4to. 

Hemixbtjrgh  :  {See  Walteeus). 

Hemim'ord  :  {See  Waltertjs). 

Heyne  (Christiiiu  Gotlobb)  :  On  the  Relative  Value  of  Copper  in  Ancient 
Times,  an  aiticle  in  the  "  Academia  Georgia  Augusta;"  Novi  com- 
meutaiii,  etc.,  v.  41.     Edited  by  C.  G.  H.;  Gottingen,  1771,  etc.     Svo. 

449,  g,  5-8. 

HoTMAN  (Frangois).  Sometimes  Hotimani  and  Hottoman  :  De  re  numaria. 
Paris,  1585.     2  parts,  Svo.  602,  b,  4. 

HuLTSCH  (Frederick)  :  Griechische  und  Romische  Metrologie.^JBerlin,  1862. 

Hussey  (Robert) :  Essay  on  Ancient  Weights,  Monev,  and  Measures, 
Oxford,  1836.     8vo.  "  602/c/lO. 

Ihminon  :   {See  Gueraed). 

Italiani  Sceittoei  Classici.     Florence,  1751.    Svo,  series. 

John  of  Nikios.  Chronique  de  Jean,  eveque  de  Nikiou.  Texte  Ethiopien. 
Publie  et  traduit  par  H.  Zotenberg.     Paris,  1883.     4to.  753,  k,  18. 

[This  is  an  epitome  of  general  history  from  the  creation  of  the  world 
to  the  conquest  of  Egypt  by  the  Arabs,  compiled  by  a  Christian  monk, 
John  Madabbar,  priest  of  Nikios,  who  lived  during  the  last  quarter  of 
the  seventh  century.  The  work  was  originally  written  in  Greek,  then 
in  1602  translated  into  Ethiopian,  and  recently  into  French.  There 
are  two  copies  of  the  Ethiopian  text  extant — one  each  in  the  Biblio- 
theque  Nationale  and  the  British  Museum  Library.  The  latter  is  in 
excellent  condition,  written  on  clear  parchment,  and  bound  in  thick 
wooden  boards  covered  with  leather.  The  earlier  portions  of  the  work 
consist  of  Biblical  repetition  and  Greek  fable ;  the  Roman  history,  though 
greatly  colored  by  sectarian  hatred,  is  interesting;  the  contemporaneous, 
history,  chiefly  Egyptian  and  Arabian,  is  of  historical  value.] 

JOEDAN  :  The  Standard  of  Value,  by  W.  L.  Jordan.  London,  1889.  8vo. 
A  tiresome  wrangle  about  metallic  "  standards."  Tlie  autlior  holds  that 
the  gold  sovereign  is  the  "standard  unit  or  measure  of  value."  If  so, 
then  what  are  two  gold  sovereigns  ?   Two  units  of  value  ?  Two  standards  ? 

Justin  (N.  de) :  De  Moneta.  Jena,  1757.  For  writing  this  treatise  on 
money,  De  Justin  was  imprisoned  by  the  king  of  Prussia.  No  copy 
of  it  in  British  Museum  Library. 

Keaey  (C.  F.)  :  Catalogue  of  English  coins.     Loudon,  1887.     8vo. 

A  Guide  to  the  Study  of  English  Coins,  by  the  late  William  Henfrey. 

New  and  revised  edition  by  C.  F.  Keary.  London,  1885.  8vo.  This 
patriotic  work  proves  that  the  kings  of  England  neither  debased,  de- 
graded, nor  altered  the  value  of  their  coins  ! 

Kelly  (P.) :  The  Universal  Cambist  and  Commercial  Instructor.     London 
1821.     4to. 

Lavoix  (Henri) :  Catalogue  des  Monnais  Musulmanes  de  la  Bibliotheque 
Nationale.     Paris,  1887.     3  vols.,  8vo. 

Leake  (Stephen  Martin)  :  Historical  Account  of  English  Money.  London 
1726.     8vo. 

Le  Blanc  (Francois)  :  Traite  des  Monnayes  de  France.  Amsterdam,  1692.  4to. 

Le  Cleec  (Jean)  :  (For  Union  of  Utrecht  and  its  coinage  regulations). 

Lenoemant  (Fr.) :  Monnaies  et  Medailks.     Paris,  1879.     Svo. 


Lbnobmant  (Fr.) :  La  Monnaie  daus  I'Antiquite.     Paris,  1879.     3  vols.,  8vo. 

LONGPEEIER  (Adrienne  de)  :  ffiuvres,     Paris.     7  vols.,  Svo. 

Lowndes  (William) :  A  report  containing  an  Essay  for  the  Amendment  of 

the  Silver  Coins.     London,  1695.     Svo. 
Magens  :    Essay  on  Insurances,  by  Nicholas  Magens,   merchant.     London, 

1755.     2  vols.,  4to.  ^  50,  d,  14. 

Makrisi  (Ahmad  Ibn  Ali  Ibn  Abd-al-Kadir  Al-Makrizi)  :  Traite  des  Mon- 

noies  Musulmanes,  trad,  par  A.    1.  Sylvestre  de  Sacy.     Paris,  an.  V. 

(1797).     Svo.  T,  319  (1). 

Mantj,  Ordinances  of,  or  the  Damathat.     Loudon,  1884.     Svo.     2318,  g,  19. 
Mabtens  (G.  F.  de):  Precis  du  Droit  des  Gens  moderne  de  I'Europe,  anuoted 

by   Cli.   Verge,   advocate.     Paris,    1864,      2   vols,    in    1,    Svo.      Vol.    i., 

pp.  298 — 300,  contains  a  section  on  Money,  and  pp.  300—304  a  note  by 

Verge  on  same  subject. 
Mediobabbus  Bibagus  (Franciscus)  :  See  Mezzabaeba. 
Menant  :  Les  cylindres  Orientaux  a  La  Hiiye.     Paris,  1879.     Svo. 
Mezzabaeba  Bibago  (Francisco)  :    Lnperatorum  Roman orum  Numismata, 

ab  A.  Occo  (of  Augsburg)    dim  congesta  nunc,  aucta  studio  et  cura 

F.  Mediobarbi  Biragi.     Mediolano,  1730.     Fol.  681,  i,  13. 

MiGNE  (Jacques  Paul,  I'Abbe) :  Patrologia;  Cursus  Completus.      Paris,  1857. 

4to.  2050,  f,  g  ;  2011,  c,  g  ;  2012,  c,  d. 

Advantages  of  dealing  at  the  Ateliers  Catlioliques  and  of  investing  in 

the  Abbe  Migne's  Loan.     Paris,  1863.     4to.  1220,  m,  113. 

Mommsen  (Theodor) :  Ueber  den  Verfall  des  Roaiischen  Miinzwesens  in  der 
Kaiserzeit.     Dresden,  1857.     Svo. 

History  of  Rome.     Eng.  Trans,  by  Rev.  William  P.  Dickson,  D.D. 

London,  1862-75.     4  vols.,  Svo.  9040,  cec,  13. 

De  Torganisation  financiere  chez  les  Romains,   traduit  par    Albert 

Vigie.     Paris,  1888.     Svo.  brochure. 
Corpus  Inscriptionum  Latinaruni.     Berlin,  1873.     Fol.,  15  vols.     Li 

vol.  iii.,  part  2,  are  the  "  Res  Gestae    Divi   Augusti,"  including    the 

Monumeutum  Ancyranum  (p.  788).  2068,  f. 

Mommsen  :  {See  Blacas). 
Montesquiou-Feiensac  (Anne  Pierre,  Marquis  de) :  Courtes  reflexions  sur 

I'Emission  de  deux  milliards  d'assign.its.     Paris,  1790.    Brochure.     Svo. 

F.  233  (5). 
MuiENirs  (Joannes)  :  Numismata  Danorum.     Hafniae,  1670.     Svo. 

603,  d,  20  (1). 
MuBATOEi  (Lodovico  Antonio)  :  Ant.  Italia3.    1738-42.    6  tom.  fol.     2070,  f. 

A  Relation  of   the  Missions  of    Paraguay,     Eng,   trans,  from  the 

French.     London,  1759.     Svo.  4745,  b,  4. 

Mtei  (Wernerus  Christophorus) :   De   Re   Nummaria.     V.   et  N.  T.  in  J. 

Harduinum  (Jean  Hardouin).     Helmstadii,  1711.     4to.  813,  c,  15. 

Neei  :  Osservazioni  sopra  el    prezzo  legale  delle  Monete    (Observations  on 

the  Legal  Value  of   Money),    by    Pompeo   Neri,     Florence,    1751.      A 

new  ed.,  1803,  Svo.  "  _  1140.  e,  3,  4, 
Document!  annessi  alle  osservazioni  sopra  il  prezzo  legale  delle  monete. 

An  appendix  to  the  former  work. 

Delle  Monete  commercio.     See  also  Italiani  Scbittobi. 

NlKlOU  (Bishop  of) :   {See  John  of  Nikiou,  Nikios,  or  Nikieus). 

NiSABD  (M.):  Collection  des  Auteurs  Latins,  avec  la  traduction  en  Francais 

publiee  sous  la  direction  de  M.  Nisard.     Paris,  1851,     Large  Svo,  28 

Numismatic  Chbonicie  for  1884 :  Poole  on  Mahometan  Coins,     London. 

Svo.     Third  series.  Ac.  5885 ;  2. 


Ntjmismatic  Chronicle  for  1884:    Tliird  series,  vol.  iv,  p.  122,  Coins  Struck 
by  Hannibal  in  Italy.  Ac.  5885  ;  2. 

Occo  (A.,  of  Augsburg,  Numismatist) :    {See  Mezzabaeba). 
Obesme    (Nicolas,  Bishop    of    Lisieux)  :    Tractie  de  la  primiere   invention 
des    Monnoies,    etc.,    ed.    L.    Wolowski,  containing  tracts   of  Oresme 
and  Copernicus.     Paris,  1865.     8vo.  7756,  e. 

OEES>rii  (Nicolai) :  De  Origine  et  jure  nee  nou  et  de  Mutationibus  Mone- 
tarum.  This  is  a  tract  of  23  chapters  in  28  pages.  (Ed.  M.  de  La 
Eigne).  1677.  Fol. 
OHTELirs  (Abraham) :  Deorum  Dearumque  Capita  ex  antiquis  Numis- 
matibus  collecta,  etc.  1699.  Fol.  Included  in  vol.  vii  of  Grseca- 
rum  Thesaurus  (which  see). 
Patik  (Charles)  :  Travels.  Translated  from  the  French.  London,  1697.  12mo. 

Historia   de    las    Medallas.     Madrid,   1771.     8vo.     Translated  from 

the  Latin.  7755,  a,  1-i. 

Pinto  :  Traite  du  Credit  et  de  la  Circulation.     (For  Siege-pieces  of  Tournay.) 
Pois    (Antoine  de) :    {See   Piso).     Discours  sur  les  Medailles  et  graveures 

antiques.     Paris,  1579.     4to. 
Poullain  (Henri) :    Traictes  des  Monnoyes.     Paris,  1621.     Another  edition, 
1709.     12mo.  '  277,  c.  23. 

De  prix  de  nostre  Escu.     Paris,  1613.     Svo.  1139,  k.  13. 

Present  State  of  England  :  (See  England). 

PuFFENDOEF  (Sauiuel,  Baroii  von):  Law  of  Nature  and  Nations,     London, 

1829.     Fol.  8406,  h,  16. 

QriNONES    (Dr.   Ivan   de)  :     Explicacion  de  unas  Monedas    de   Oro  de  los 

emperadores  Romanos  que  se  ban  hallado  en  el  Puerto  de  Guadarrama. 

Madrid,    1620.     Pamphlet,   8vo.     A  tract   of  100    pp.,  useful    for    its 

mention  of  old  Spanish  authors  on  Money. 

Retue  d'Antheopologie  :  Emile  Cartailhae  on  the  Gold  of  Ancient  Gaul. 

Paris,  1882-9.     Svo.  P.  P.  3862,  e. 

Retve  Numismatique  for  1862  and  1865.     Blois.    Svo. 

P.  P.  1877  and  836. 
Rohe-de-l'Isle  (Jean  Baptiste  Louis  de) :  Metrologie.     Paris,  1789.     4to. 
Rouge  (Yicomte  Jacques  de)  :    Monuaies    nouvelles   de  Nomes  d'Egypte. 
Pamphlet.     Paris,  1882.     Svo.  7757,  f.  28  (2). 

Rtmee  (Foedera)  :   (For  "  turneys,"  see  v,  113). 
Saiget  :  Traite  de  Metrologie,  par  Jacques  Frederic  Saigey.     Paris,  1834. 

Saint-Chamans  :  Nouvel  Essai  sur  la  Richesse  des  Nations.     Paris,  1824. 


SArvAiBE    (Henri)  :  Materiaux  pour  servir   a  I'histoire  de  la  numismatique 

musulmanes.     Paris,  1882.     Svo.,  pp.  367.  7756,  bb,  11. 

Savot  (Louis)  :   Discours  sur  les  Medailles  Antiques.     Paris,  1627.     4to. 

ScALiGEE  (Joseph  Juste)  :  Constautini   Imp.  Byzautini  numismatis  argentei 

expositio,  etc.     Leyden,  1604.     4to.  602,  c,  16,  1. 

De  Re  Nummaria  antiquorum  dissertatio.     1616,  Svo.     1697.    Fol. 

602,  a,  10,  2068,  d. 

De  Emendatione  Temporum.     Colonic  Allobrogum,  (Geneva),  1629. 

Fol.  580,  1, 10. 

SCHLUMBEEQEE  (G.) :  Lead  moneys  of  the  Holy  Land.     Paris,  1878.     Svo. 

ScHiiiD  (Gesetze  der  Angelsachsen).     In  this  work  the  scale  of  monetary 

equivalents  relating  to  the  heptarchical  period  is  confused  and  defective. 

Schmidt  (Hermann)  :  Tate's  Modern  Cambist.     London,  18S0.     Svo. 

Seismit-Doda  (Federico)  :  Delle  Condizioni  finanziarie  del  Regno.     Speech 

delivered  July   26,  1867,  by  Federico   Seismit-Doda.       Firenze,   1867. 

Svo.  8225,  ee,  39  (9). 



Seyd  (Eruest) :  The  Bank  of  England  Xote  Issue  and  its  Error.     London, 

1874.     8vo. 
SiNCLAiB  (Sir  John):    History  of  the    British    Eevenue.      London,  1820. 

3  vols.  8vo. 
SiTZGSBEE  (Christ.)  :  Transactions  in  der  Munchen  Akademie.     See  vol.  i, 

p.  68. 
Smith  (Charles  Roach)  :  Dictionary  of  Roman  Coins.     London,  1889.     4to. 

2259,  d. 
Speed  (Joannes)  :  Sigillaet  monetajRegnum  Anglise,  etc.  Loudon,  1601.  Fol, 
Stanosa  (Don  Vicentio  Juan  de  la)  :     Museo  de  las  Medalas  desconocidas 

Espanolas  Oscae.     1645.     4to. 
Steneksen  (L.B.):  Myntfundetfin  Graeslid  i  ThydMleu.  Christiania,1881.  4to. 
Stevens  (Capt.  John) :    The  Royal   Treasury  of  England,  or  an  Historical 

Account  of   the  Taxes  under  what  Denomination  soever  from  the  Con- 
quest to  the  Present  Year.     London,  1725.     8vo. 
Stouem   (Rene) :    Les  Finances  de  I'Ancien  Regime  et  de  la   Revolution. 

Paris,  1885.     2  vols.,  8vo.  8229,  dd,  41. 

Steahlenbeeg  (Philip  Johau) :  Northern  Europe  and  Asia.     Loudon,  1736. 

4to.     Translated  into  English.  149,  h,  14 

Tapping  (Thomas) :  High  Peak  Mineral  Customs.     London,  1851.     12mo. 

1383,  f. 

Derbyshire  Mining  Customs.     London,  1854.     12mo.  1380,  b,  11 

Tatekniee  (Jean  Baptiste)  :  Travels  in  India.     Translated  from  the  original 

French  ed.  of  1676  by  V.  Ball.     London,  1889.      2  vols.,  8vo.     2356,  c. 
Thomsen  (C.  J.) :  Monnaies  des  Moyeu  Age.     Copenhagen.     3  vols.,  8vo. 
TiTSiNGH  (M.)  :   Verhaudelingen  van  het  Batavidasch  genovtschap.  Haye, 

Till  (William):  The  Roman  Denarius  and  English  Penny.     London,  1837. 

TiZENHAUSEN  (V.  de) :  Notice  sur  uue  collection  de  Monnais  orientales  de 

M.  Le    comte  Strouganoff.      St.  Petersbourg.     Imprim.    de   I'academie 

imperiale  des  sciences,  1880.     Pamphlet.     8vo.,  pp.   58.  with  83  photo- 

lith.  engravings.  Pam.  44. 

TOD   (James,  Lieut. -Col.)  :  Annals  and  Antiquities  of   Rajast'han.     Second 

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Van  dee   Chijs   (P.   0.) :  De  Munten  der   Frankische   en    Daitsch  Neder- 

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4to.    A  very  complete  work  on  early  Prankish  and  Dutch  coins. 
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7707,  e,  50. 
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P.  Mouet.     Paris,  1886.     12mo. 

Whitelaw  :  Just  Money,  by  T.  N.  A\Tiitela\v.  Glasgow,  1886.  Svo,  One 
of  the  few  works  which  notices  the  influence  of  a  monetary  system  upon 
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IXTEODUCTIOX  .  .  .  • 

Chap.  I.  Ixdia      .         .         .         • 
II.  AxciEXT  Peesiax  Moxeys 

III.  Ancient  Hebeew  Moneys 

IV.  Ancient  Gbeek  Moneys 
V.  Rome     .         .        .         • 

VI.  The  Saceed  Chaeactee  of  Gold 
VII.  Pounds,  Shillings,  and  Pence  . 
VIII.  Gothic  Moneys    .... 
IX.  Moslem  Moneys    .... 
X.  Eaely  English  Moneys 
XI.  Moneys  of  the  Heptaechy 
XII.  Anglo-Xoeman  Moneys 

XIII.  Eaely  Plantagenet  Moneys 

XIV.  Latee  Plantagenet  Moneys 
XV.  EvoLrTioN  of  the  Coinage  Peeeogative 

XVI.  Saxony  and  Scandinavia     . 
-^  XVn.  The  Xetheelands 

XVIII.  Geemany        .... 
XIX.  The  Aegentine  Confedeeation 
XX.  Peitate  Coinage 
App.  a.  Statistics  of  the  Ratio 

B.  Bank  Suspensions  since  the  eea  of  Pbivate 

C.  The  Gold  Movement  of  1865-73,  and  existin 

TABY  Systems 
































CH.iPTEE    I. 

"TXDIA.  Antiquity  of  money  in  India — Moneys  of  the  Yedas — 
-*-  Braminical  ramtenkis — Moneys  in  the  Mahabarata — Money 
in  Panini's  sutras — Budhic  coins — Moneys  in  the  Code  of  Mann — 
The  daries  of  Pei-sia  coined  from  Indian  spoil  and  tributes — Indian 
expeditions  of  Alexander  and  Seleucus — Great  antiquity  of  Indian 
civilisation  attested  by  Megasthenes — Bacchic  or  Budhic  eras  in 
Pliny  and  Arrian — Pre-Grecian  moneys  of  India  mentioned  by  the 
Greek  writers — The  monetary  experience  of  ancient  India  lost 
through  the  perversion  of  its  history — Scarcity  of  the  precious 
metals  after  the  Greek  expeditions — Revival  of  gold  and  silver 
mining — Budhic  interdict  of  mining — Shipments  of  silver  from 
Rome  mentioned  by  Pliny — Indian  imitations  of  Roman  gold 
coins — Coins  of  Julius  Csesar,  Marc  Antony,  Augustus,  and 
Claudius  found  in  the  topes — Epoch  of  copper  and  other  base 
moneys — Cowries — Mahometan  raids  in  India — The  Quinto  and 
other  spoils  sent  westward — Continuation  of  copper  and  base  metal 
epoch — Private  coinage — Forbidden  by  Akbar — His  attempt  to 
establish  silver  money  superseded  by  the  East  India  Company — 
Moneys  and  revenues  of  the  Grand  Moguls — The  Company's 
monetary  system  of  1766 — System  of  1769 — Drain  of  precious 
metals  from  Europe — Suspension  of  the  Bank  of  England — 
Monetary  system  of  1793 — Sir  James  Steuart — System  of  ISO) — 
System  of  1835 — Silver  system  of  1852 — Issue  of  paper  money, 
1863 — Suspension  of  individual  coinage,  1893 — The  ratio  between 
gold  and  silver — Volume  of  money  in  India  .... 

Chapter  II. 
Ancient  Pehsian  Moneys.  The  gold  daric  of  Cyrus  and 
Darius — Imitated  in  the  Greek,  Roman,  and  Sassanian  coinages 
The  £  s.  d.  system  also  originated  in  Persia,  and  was  copied  by 
Rome — Coinage  in  Persia  a  sacerdotal  prerogative — Etymology  of 
the  daric  probably  astrological — The  siccal,  or  shekel — The  money 
talent — Allied  to  the  tael  and  the  silver  thaler  or  dollar — Con- 




fusion  of  the  money  and  weight  talent  by  modern  writers — 
Monetary  systems  of  Cyrus  and  Darius — Gold  coins  only  struck 
by  independent  princes — The  Persian  ratio  of  value  between  the 
precious  metals     ..........         23 

Chapter  III. 
Ancient  Hebrew  Moneys.  Bang  moneys  of  the  Gets — Casef 
used  both  for  silver  money  and  metal — Various  kinds  of  shekels — 
Indian  origin  of  the  term — Dinara — Daric,  or  Darken — Gera — 
Hebrew  monetary  system  in  the  time  of  Ezra — Iron  coins — Coinages 
of  the  Asmoneans — Silver  and  copper  shekels — Extant  specimens         30 

Chapter  IV. 

Ancient  Greek  Moneys.  Earliest  moneys  of  Greece — Gold 
and  silver  bangs — Leather  moneys — Iron  money  of  Lycurgus — 
Pheidon  of  Argos — Staters  of  Miletus — Examination  of  the 
passages  in  Herodotus  and  other  writers  concerning  the  antiquity 
of  coinage  in  Greece — The  Parian  marbles — Knife-coins  found  by 
Schliemann  at  Troy — Coins  of  the  Troezenii — The  "bulls"  of 
Theseus — Statement  of  Sophocles — Drachmas  of  Solon — Ratio  of 
10  for  1 — Mines  of  Laurium — Staters  of  Cyzicus-  -The  first  gold 
coins  struck  at  Athens  from  the  statue  of  Victory — Plato's  mone- 
tary system — Pre-Solonic  scale  of  equivalents — Solonic  scale — 
Decadence  system — Coins  give  rise  to  weights,  and  not  weights  to 
coins — Confusion  of  the  money  and  the  weight  talent — The 
obelos,  or  handful,  and  the  obolos  weight 35 

Chapter  V. 

RoiiE.  Supposed  silver  coins  of  Servius  Tullius — "  Romano  " 
coins — ^A.u.  369,  the  Nummulary  system — A.r.  437,  Scrupulum 
system  of  gold  and  silver  "  Roma  "  coins — a.u.  485,  Centralisation 
of  silver  coinage  and  change  of  ratio — A.r.  537-47,  System  of  the 
Lex  Flaminia — a.xj.  663,  The  Social  War;  coins  of  the  Italiotes; 
concession  of  citizenship ;  centralisation  of  money  at  Rome — A.u. 
675,  System  of  Sylla — Systems  of  Julius  Caesar — Augustus — 
Caligula — Attempted  revival  of  the  Republic — Galba— Otho — 
Caracalla  —  Aurelian  —Diocletian  —  Constantine  —  Arcadius  and 
Honorius— The  Byzantine  systems  down  to  the  Fall  of  Con- 
stantinople in  A.D,  1204 — The  Westem  system.s — Clovis — Pepin — 
Charlemagne .         60 


Chaptee  VI. 


The  Sacred  Chaeactee  of  Gold.  Coinacje  the  surest  mark 
•of  sovereignty — Abstention  of  the  Christian  princes  from  mining 
and  coining  gold,  from  Pepin  to  Frederick  II. — Dates  of  the 
earliest  Christian  coinages  of  gold  in  the  West — Inadequate  reasons 
hitherto  given  to  explain  this  singular  circumstance — Opinions  of 
•Camden — Ruding— Father  Joubeii — The  true  reason  given  by 
Procopius — The  coinage  of  gold  was  a  Sacred  Myth  and  a  preroga- 
tive of  the  Roman  emperor — Its  origin  and  history — Braminical 
Code — The  Myth  during  the  Roman  Republic — During  the  Civil 
Wars — Conquest  of  Egypt  by  Julius  Csesar — Seizure  of  the 
Oriental  trade — The  Sacred  Myth  embodied  in  the  Julian  Con- 
stitution— Popularity  and  longevity  of  the  Myth — It  was  trans- 
mitted by  the  pagan  to  the  Christian  Church  of  Rome,  and  adopted 
by  the  latter — Its  importance  in  throwing  light  upon  the  relations 
of  the  Western  kingdoms  to  the  Roman  Empire    ....       107 

Chapter  VII. 

PouxDS,  Shillings,  and  Pence.  This  system  appears  in  the 
Theodosian  Code — Is  probably  older — Its  essential  characteristic 
is  valuation  by  moneys  of  account — Advantages — Previous 
diversity  of  coins — Danger  of  the  loss  of  numismatic  monuments 
— Expoiiation  of  silver  to  India — Difficulty  of  enforcing  contracts 
in  coins  of  a  given  metal — £.  s.  d.  as  an  instrument  of  taxation — 
As  an  historical  clue — It  always  followed  Christianity — Sidelights 
to  history  afforded  by  the  three  denominations — £.  s.  d.  and  the 
Feudal  system — It  saved  the  most  precious  monuments  of  antiquity 
from  destruction — Artificial  character  of  the  system — Its  earliest 
establishment  in  the  provinces — In  Britain — Interrupted  in  some 
provinces  by  barbarian  systems — Its  restoration  proves  the  re- 
sumption of  Roman  government — This  rule  applied  to  Britain      .       133 

Chapter  VIII. 

Gothic  Moneys.  Proofs  that  the  earliest  sagas  were  altered 
in  the  mediaeval  ages — Among  these  is  their  frequent  mention  of 
baug-money,  an  institution  which  did  not  survive  the  contact  of 
^Norsemen  and  Romans — Progressive  order  of  !Norse  moneys — Fish, 
vadmal  and  bang  moneys — The  bang  traced  from  Tartary  to 
Gotland,  Saxony,  and  Britain — Gold  bangs  acquired  a  sacerdotal 
character — This  was  probably  immediately  after  Norse  and  Roman 
contact — Subsequent    relinquishment   of    baug-money    and    the 


adoption  of  coins — Proof  that  Caesar  encountered  Xorse  tribes  in 
Britain,  derived  from  his  mention  of  bangs — This  view  corroborated 
by  archseologv  and  philology — Subsequent  Norse  coinage  system  of 
stycas,  scats,  and  oras — Importaut  historical  conclusions  derived 
from  its  study      ..........       151 

Chaptee  IX. 

Moslem  Moneys.  The  empire  of  Islam — Conquest  of  the 
Roman  provinces  in  Asia,  Africa,  and  Spain — Administrative 
policy  of  the  moslem — Monetary  regulations — Numismatic  de- 
claration of  Independence— Origin  of  the  dinar  and  dirhem — 
Singular  ratio  of  value  between  silver  and  gold — Probable  reasons 
for  its  adoption — Its  worth  as  an  historical  guide — As  a  monetary 
example — Permanence  of  the  tale  ratio  between  dinar  and  dirhem — 
^loslem  remains  in  the  Western  and  Xortheni  States  of  Europe  : 
Spain,  France,  Burgiindy,  Flanders,  Britain,  and  Scandinavia — 
Coinage  system  of  Abd-el-Melik — Prerogative  of  coinage  vested 
in  the  caliphate — Individual  coinage  unknown — Emir  coinages — 
These  substantially  ceased  with  the  reform  of  Abd-el-Melik — 
Legal  tender  in  Egypt,  Spain,  and  India — Weights  and  fineness 
of  the  dinar  in  various  reigns — Same  of  the  dirhem — Frontier 
ratios  between  gold  and  silver       .......       163 

Chapter  X. 

Eably  Exglish  Moxets.  Sterling  standard — Type  of  the 
penny — Arabian  coins  in  Gotland — Offa's  dinar — The  mark — The 
mancus — Arabian  moneyers  in  England — Arabian  ratio — Arabian 
metallurgists — The  Gothic- Arabian  monetary  system   .         .         .       185 

Chapter  XI. 

Moneys  of  the  Heptarchy.  Summary  of  historical  evidences 
furnished  by  the  materials  of  this  chapter — No  coins  of  the  Anglo- 
Saxons  exist  earlier  than  Ethelbert — Pagan  gold  coins — Gothic 
coins  of  Ethelred — Interpolations  in  ancient  texts — Moslem  coins 
of  Offa  the  Goth — Eome-scat,  or  Peter's-pence — Egbert  adopts 
the  Roman  system  of  £.  s.  d. — Danish  invasions — Burgred  is 
defeated  and  interned  in  a  monastery — Guthrum  is  baptised  and 
reigns  as  Athelstan  II — Alfred  of  AVessex — Mingling  of  Gothic 
and  Christian  coins  and  denominations — Changes  of  ratio — Edward 
the  Elder — Athelstan — Edmund  I — Eadred — Leather  moneys — 
Ethelred  II — Danegeld — Canute  the  Dane — Harold  the  Dane — 
Edward  Confessor — Harold  II — Evidences  derived  from  these 
researches  ..........       200 

CONTENTS.  xxvii 

Chapter  XII. 


Systems  of  Axglo-Noksiax  Moxeys.  Xormau,  Anglo-Saxon, 
early  Gothic,  Moslem,  Byzantine,  and  other  coins  circulating  in 
England — Difference  in  the  silver  value  of  heretical  and  orthodox 
gold  coins — Scats,  sterlings,  and  pennies — Efforts  of  the  Norman 
princes  to  escape  the  monetary  supervision  of  Eome — Receipts 
and  payments  made  ia  different  moneys — Counterfeiting — Barter^ 
^Permutation— Faii-s — Taxes  and  rents  in  kind — Bills  of  Ex- 
change— The  monetary  systems  of  the  Xorman  princes  exhibit  a 
strange  condition  of  political  affairs 221 

Chaptee  XIII. 

Eaelt  Plaxtagenet  Moneys.  Purity  of  the  coinage  before 
the  fall  of  Constantinople — Cornipt  state  afterwards — The  change 
was  due  to  the  destruction  of  the  sacerdotal  authority,  the  dis- 
appearance of  the  sacred  besant,  and  the  assumption  of  certain 
regalian  rights  by  the  kings  of  England — Whilst  contracts  could 
be  made  in  gold  besants,  there  was  no  profit  in  tampering  with 
the  silver  coinage — Afterwards  it  became  one  of  the  commonest 
resources  of  royal  finance — Coinage  systems  of  Henry  II — 
Eichard  I — John — Henry  III — Edward  I 232^ 

Chapter  XIV. 

Later  Plaxtagenet  Moneys.  Xo  mint  indentures  prior  to 
Edward  I — No  statutes  of  any  kind  previous  to  Magna  Charta— 
Sudden  beginning  of  frequent  monetary  changes  in  the  reign  of 
Edward  II — Significance  of  this  movement — Progressive  assump- 
tion of  regalian  rights — Lowering  of  pollards  and  crockards — 
Interdiction  of  commerce  in  coins  and  bullion — Lowerings  of 
sterlings — Establishment  of  a  maximum  — Coinage  of  base  money 
by  the  king — His  death — Accession  of  Edward  III — New  mone- 
tary ordinances — Black  money — Mercantile  system — Tin  money — 
Review  of  the  gold  question — The  maravedi  of  Henry  III — Pre- 
paration of  Edward  III,  to  issue  gold  coins — Permission  from  the 
emperor — Convention  with  Flanders — Authority  of  parliament — ■ 
Issue  of  the  double-florin — Its  immediate  retirement — Fresh 
preparations — Issue  of  the  gold  noble  or  half-mark — Its  great 
significance 255- 





Chapter  XV. 


Evolution  of  the  Coinage  Peerogative.  Impetus  afFovded 
to  the  development  of  British  national  independence  — The  Great 
Interregnum — Assertions  of  English  sovereign  authority — As- 
sumption of  royal  or  national  control  over  the  precious  metals  and 
money — Assumption  of  Mines  Royal — Assumption  of  treasure- 
trove — Royal  coinage  of  gold — Interdict  of  the  besant — Trial  of 
the  pix — Royal  monetary  commissions — Suppression  of  episcopal 
and  baronial  mints — Export  of  precious  metals  prohibited — First 
complete  national  sovereignty  of  money — Prohibition  of  tribute 
to  Rome 275 

Chapter  XVI. 

History  of  the  Money  in  Saxony  and  Scandinavia.  Pish, 
vadmal,  bangs,  and  coins — Ratio — The  mark — Imitations  of 
Roman  coins — The  pagan  Hansa — Charlemagne — The  Christian 
Hansa — Great  fair  of  Novgorod — Ruric — Harold  Hardrade  — 
Christian  II — The  tyrant's  "  klippings  " — Massacre  of  Protestants 
— Mons — Gustavus  Vasa — "  Klippings  "  of  freedom — Marks, 
talents,  and  dalers — Private  coinage — Rundstyks — Copper  plates 
— Assignats — Transport  notes — Bank  of  Stockholm — Goertzdalers, 
or  mynt-saicen — State  notes — Banks  of  Copenhagen — Incon- 
vertible notes — Silver  dalers — Demonetisation  of  silver — Gold 
"  standard  "  of  1872 284 

Chapter  XVII. 

The  Netherlands.  Ancient  Saxony — Origin  of  the  Dutch — 
Their  maritime  character — Early  moneys — The  pagan  lesterling, 
Engel,  and  Guilder — Trade  with  Saracenic  Spain — Moslem  and 
Esterling  ratios — Pepin,  the  Short — The  Christian  ratio — Com- 
promise ratio  of  the  Baltic — The  Saiga — Fall  of  the  Eastern 
Empire — Coinages  of  the  Renaissance — The  Ducat,  or  Florin — 
Proposed  Anglo-Flemish  Convention — Florins  and  Nobles  of 
Edward  III — Disagreement  respecting  the  ratio — Burgundian 
ratios — The  Ducaton,  or  Thaler — the  Stiver — Causes  of  the  Dutch 
revolution — Religion  and  Money — The  right  of  coinage — Cor- 
ruptions  of  money  during  the  Renaissance — Sudden  enhancement 
of  gold  by  Charles  V — Revolt  of  the  Netherlands — Demonetisation 
of  gold — Paper  money  of  Leyden — the  Wissel  Bank — The  Bank 
of  Amsterdam — Sols  banco — Burgher  coinage — It  destroys  money 
and  substitutes  metal — Selfish  policy  of  Spain — The  Buccaneers — 
Plunder  of  the  Spanish  galleons — Opening  of  the  sea  route  to  the 

CONTENTS.  xxix 

Orient — The  Duteli  colony  of  New  Amsterdam  (Xew  York) — Tlie 
Encjlish  follow  the  Dutch  in  all  these  measures — Sir  Thomas 
Gresham — Dutch  coinage  ratios  from  the  earliest  times  to  the 
present — The  Mark — Hanseatic  money — Successive  monetary 
systems  of  the  Burghei-s  from  the  sixteenth  to  the  nineteenth 
century — Gold  and  silver  alternately  demonetised — Bank  issues 
and  insolvency — Recent  demonetisation  of  silver — Present  cur- 
rency of  the  Xetherlands — Importance  of  the  ratio  as  a  guide  to 
history— Urgent  necessity  for  reform  of  the  Dutch  monetary 
system — The  Futare     .........       335 

Chaptee  XVIII. 

Gebmaxt.  Until  a.d.  1204  the  nght  to  coin  gold  in  Germany 
was  a  pontifico-imperial  prerogative — It  then  practically  became 
a  regalian  right,  which  in  great  measure  was  absorbed  by  the  two 
principal  German  states — Legalised  as  a  regalian  right  by  the 
Golden  Bull — Exercised  as  such  by  numerous  princes  and  by  the 
burghei-s  until  1871,  when  it  was  acquired  for  North  Germany 
hy  the  New  Empire — Thereupon  it  was  almost  immediately 
abandoned  to  the  burghers — Monetary  systems  of  Germany  during 
the  regal  period — French  forgers  of  the  sixteenth  century — Earliest 
monetary  conventions — Sudden  enhancement  of  gold  by  Charles 
V — The  German  states  and  burghers  demonetise  gold — Silver 
becomes  the  sole  material  of  legal-tender  money — Monetary 
systems  of  North  Germany — Conventions  of  sixteenth,  seventeenth, 
and  eighteenth  centuries — The  ratio — The  banks — Paper  money — 
Plunder  of  Napoleon — His  downfall — Confederation  of  the  Ehine 
— New  system — Weights — Origin  of  the  ducat,  skilling,  and 
thaler— Constitution,  convention,  and  currency  thalers — Later 
monetaiy  conventions — Quantity  of  money  circulating  in  Ger- 
many— History  of  the  ratio — Burgher  or  "free"  coinage — The 
California  scare — Treaty  of  1857  tabooing  gold  coins — The  Nevada 
scare — Legislation  of  1871-3,  demonetising  silver  coins — French 
War  Indemnity — Great  increase  of  paper  money — Efflux  of  gold 
in  1873-4 — Operation  of  the  new  mint  laws — Gold  and  silver 
production  of  Germany — Dr.  Soetbeer,  the  evil  genius  of  German 
monetary  policy — The  future B6T 

Chaptee  XIX. 

The  Abgextixe  Coxfedeeatiox.  The  swash-bucklers  or  con- 
quistadores  of  La  Plata — Plunder  and  oppression  of  the  natives — 
Mining — Lethargic  condition  of  La  Plata  as  an  appanage  of  Peru 


— The  vicerojalty — Eneomienda  and  slave  systems — Jesuit  mis- 
sions— Opposition  of  the  colonists  to  them — Exactions  of  the 
Crown  of  Spain — Scandalous  sale  of  papal  indulgences — Ruinous 
results — Revolutions  and  civil  wars — Subversion  of  the  monarchy 
— Retention  of  papal  domination — Boom  of  1825 — Relapse  into 
anarchy — Further  wars  and  revolutions — Paraguayan  war — 
Dreadful  cruelties — Feeble  progress  of  the  republic^Territory — • 
Population— Agriculture — Sheep-farming— Commerce — Dishonest 
representations — Gross  exaggeration  of  national  wealth  and  re- 
sources— Boom  of  1874-5 — The  revulsion — Its  causes — Supersti- 
tion, poverty,  and  false  pretences — Monetary  systems — The  Quinto 
—Seigniorage — Private  coinage — Base  coins — Mint  law  of  1772 — 
Good  money  lowers  the  value  of  bad,  but  is  not  driven  out — 
Illimitable  p^per  issues — Their  attempted  retirement  at  25  paper 
for  1  coin — Law  demonetising  silver  and  establishing  gold  money — ■ 
Its  farcical  character — The  so-called  "  resumption  "  suspended — 
Further  paper  issues — Retirement  of  the  old  paper  at  25  for  1  of 
new  paper — The  new  paper  falls  to  40  per  cent,  of  its  face  value  in 
coins — Entire  disappearance  of  gold  and  silver  coins — Abject  posi- 
tion of  a  great  country  brought  about  by  bad  administration         .       408 

Chapter  XX. 

Private  Coinage.  Five  great  eras  in  the  history  of  money — 
Pontifico-royal  period — Republican  period — Pontifico-imperial 
period — Royal  period — Private  Coinage  period — Moslem  origin  of 
private  coinage — Omission  of  the  coinage  prerogative  from  the 
Koran — Its  assumption  by  the  Moslem  conquerors  of  India — - 
Private  coinage  practised  by  their  permission — Consequent  degra- 
dation of  the  India  monetary  systems — Arrival  of  the  Portuguese 
in  India — Private  coinages  of  Albuquerque  at  Goa — Private 
coinages  of  the  Dutch  in  India — Private  coinages  of  the  British 
East  India  Company — Idolatrov;s  effigies  on  their  coins — Private 
coinage  enunciated  in  the  Star  Chamber  of  England — Private 
coinage  sanctioned  by  Charles  II,  who  concedes  or  bargains  away 
the  royal  prerogative — Disastrous  consequences  to  the  commercial 
world — Frequent  failures  of  banks  of  issue — Incompetency  of  the 
banking  class  to  regulate  either  national  or  international  Measures 
of  Value — Demand  for  the  resumption  of  the  State  prerogative — 
Progress  of  this  movement  to  the  present  time      ....       463 

Appendices 471 

Corrigenda 495 

Index 497 


The  genesis  and  evolution  of  money — Exchanges — Barter — Device  of 
a  valuing  commodity — Its  inconvenience — Bangs — Coins — Their  defects 
— Xomisma — Its  downfall — Coins  subjected  to  further  legal  regulation — 
Money  an  institution  of  law — Its  grammar — The  use  of  this  grammar  as 
an  historical  guide. 

^  I  "^HE  custom  of  calling  money  ai-gentum  and  calling 
-*-  argentum  money  (a  custom  still  retained  in  France^ 
Spain^  Germany^  and  otlier  former  provinces  of  the  Roman 
empire)  originated  in  Greece,  and  was  fixed  in  the  Roman 
language  by  a  series  of  monetary  laws  ■which  extended  over 
some  fifteen  centuries  of  time.  The  numismatic  proofs 
of  these  laws  are  still  extant  in  the  great  cabinets  of 
Europe.  To  appreciate  their  importance  and  value  it  is 
necessary  at  the  outset  to  rapidly  sketch  the  genesis  and 
evolution  of  money. 

,  The  earliest  form  of  exchange,  that  which  is  peculiar  to 
rudimentary  or  savage  communities,  was  barter.  To  remedy 
those  inconveniences  of  barter  which  were  disclosed  by  a 
progressive  civilisation,  some  given  commodity  of  common 
necessity  and  production  was  selected  in  each  community 
as  a  rude  measure  of  the  value  of  other  commodities. 
Such  measure,  whether  it  consisted  of  a  number  of  beans, 
cloths,  shells,  or  lumps  of  metal,  enabled  any  given  ex- 
change to  be  effected  upon  a  more  equitable  basis  than 
before,  simply  by  its  operation  in  holding  a  vast  number 
of  parities  in  view  at  once.  With  the  growth  of  intelli- 
gence, this  measure  was  also  found  to  be  defective  ;  it 
lacked    precision.      The    beans,   shells,  gold,   silver,    etc., 


being  useful  for  otlier  purposes  besides  a  measure  of  value, 
tlie  slightest  difference  in  the  size  or  qualitj'  of  beans,  etc., 
became  matters  of  consideration  during-  the  act  of  effect- 
ing exchanges ;  and  thus  their  effectiveness  as  such 
measure  of  value  was  impaired.  A  further  improveujent 
was  thereupon  devised  by  reducing  the  fractions  of  the 
measure  of  value  to  like  sizes  and  weights  and  to  a  like 
quality  or  fineness.  This  could  best  be  done  with  the 
precious  metals  ;  and  thus  a  number  of  metallic  pellets, 
sometimes  rings  (bangs),  came  to  compose  a  measure  of 

But  man  can  make  nothing  perfect.  Xo  sooner  does  he 
find  a  remedy  for  one  ill  than  the  remedy  itself  breeds 
other  ills,  till  then  unknown.  The  use  of  pellets  and  bangs 
promoted  commerce,  whilst  increased  commerce  exposed 
the  defectiveness  of  bangs.  It  was  discovered  that  no 
matter  what  amount  of  labour  was  involved  in  the  pro- 
duction of  the  precious  metals,  or  of  bangs,  and  no  matter 
how  carefully  the  latter  were  weighed  or  refined,  their 
value  or  power  to  purchase  other  commodities  was  liable 
to  enormous  variation.  The  arrival  or  departure  ot  a 
few  loads  of  metal,  the  discovery  or  exhaustion  of  a  mine, 
and  many  other  circumstances,  had  the  effect  to  rapidly 
alter  the  local  value  of  bangs  and  upset  all  commercial 

The  remedy  adopted  for  this  defect  was  to  localise  the 
emissions  and  currency,  or  legal  course,  of  baugs.  Each 
city,  colony,  and  trading  community  made  its  own  pellets 
or  bangs,  and  stamped  its  seal  or  private  symbol  on  the 
emissions.  This  last  act  converted  the  pellets,  or  baugs, 
into  coins.  To  render  this  device  of  home-made  coins 
effective,  it  was  necessary  to  forbid  the  use  of  all  other 
coins.  Here  is  where  the  law  first  came  to  the  rescue 
of  the  local  measure  of  value  ;  and  here  is  where  nummu- 
lary history  begins. 

The  device  of  localised  moneys  exposed  other  ills  and 
gave    rise    to    other   remedies,    all  tending    toward    the 


solution  of  what  seemed  to  be  merely  a  mechanical 
problem.  The  ill  that  next  developed  itself  was  that  one 
mint  melted  down  and  re-coined  the  issues  of  another ; 
and  thus  resuscitated  that  defect  of  the  measure  of  value 
which  arose  from  suddenly  increased  or  diminished 
supplies  of  the  valuing  commodity.  To  discourage  such 
re-coinages,  seigniorage  was  introduced ;  and  this  gave 
rise  to  numerous  other  legal  regulations,  the  character 
and  intricacy  of  which  can  best  be  appreciated  by  attempt- 
ing to  master  any  of  the  extant  mint  codes,  ancient  or 

After  many  experiments — we  are  now  alluding  to  the 
era  of  Lycurgus — it  began  to  be  suspected  that  the  mone- 
tary problem  was  not  a  mechanical  one  at  all ;  that,  unlike 
length,  weight,  capacity,  etc.,  value  was  not  an  intrinsic 
or  inalienable  attribute  of  matter,  and  therefore  that  it 
could  not  be  equitably  measured  by  means  of  any  com- 
modity, as  a  commodity.  What,  then,  was  value  ?  From 
that  time  to  the  present — that  is  to  say,  for  nearly  thirty 
centuries — the  vaults  of  the  earth  have  echoed  this  question, 
but  vouchsafed  no  reply.  The  priests  of  Egypt,  if  they 
knew  the  answer,  preserved  it  among  their  numerous 
mysteries  of  statecraft,  to  be  sold  to  tyrants,  or  employed 
in  the  service  of  the  gods.  The  seers  of  Chaldea  and 
Greece,  who  disclosed  to  the  Western  world  the  majestic 
movements  of  the  heavenly  bodies,  failed  to  recognise  the 
nature  of  value  ;  or  else  kept  it  an  unwritten  secret,  that 
it  might  not  be  employed  in  the  subversion  of  civil 
liberty.^  "  The  function  of  money  is  to  measure  value,^' 
declared  the  school  of  Lycurgus  ;  but  neither  the  Spartan 
sages  nor  the  great  Stagyrite,  who  in  a  later  age  voiced 
their  philosophical  maxims,  ever  registered  a  definition  of 

However,  not  to  register  a  definition  of  value  is  not 
necessarily  to  be  ignorant  of  its  function.      Though  it  has 

1  "  Eveiy  truth  or  error  which  the  word  value  introduces  into  men's 
minds  is  a  social  one"  (Bastiat,  "  Harmonies  of  Polit.  Econ."). 



that  of  tlie  commodities  of  which  they  were  composed,  and 
to  a  certain  extent  this  effort  succeeded. 

In  spite  of  these  and  other  improvements,  the  Measure 
of  Value  (when  it  came  to  consist  of  coins,  whose  total 
number  was  irregularly  lessened  by  loss,  wear  and  tear, 
or  melting,  or  increased  by  secret  issues,  or  counter- 
feiting) could  not  be  definitively  and  permanently  fixed  ; 
hence  it  consisted  essentially  and  teleologically  of  a 
commodity.  From  this  fact  arose  the  custom  of  calling 
money  argentum. 

Again  it  went  its  round  of  experiment.  Again  was  it 
noticed  that,  as  a  commodity,  it  was  but  ill-fitted  to 
measure  the  intricate  and  involved  series  of  exchanges 
which  are  implied  in  the  financial  relations,  contracts, 
speculations,  inheritances,  and  property  arrangements  of 
commercial  communities.  It  was  also  observed  that 
coins,  though  made  of  but  a  single  metal,  failed  to 
retain  a  more  permanent  value  than  that  of  the  metal  of 
which  they  were  composed ;  and  that  this  value  rose 
and  fell  with  every  vicissitude  of  war,  mining,  mintage, 
commerce,  and  even  fashion.  Such  a  means  of  valuation 
might  have  answered  well  enough  for  simple  and  imme- 
diate exchanges^  but  it  was  clearly  unsuited  for  the 
determination  of  future  and  involved  ones,  as  the  sale  of 
growing  crops,  the  rental  of  houses  or  farms,  the  repay- 
ment of  loans,  or  the  disposal  of  incomes  by  grant  or 
testament.  Consequently  it  was  deemed  necessary  to 
subject  the  valuing  commodity  to  further  restraints  of 

The  type,  design,  inscriptions,  metal,  alloy,  weight, 
size,  and  tale-relations  of  coins,  the  charges  for  coinage, 
the  tax  of  seigniorage,  and  the  degree,  kind,  and  territorial 
extent  of  the  legal  tender  function  of  coins  had  all  been 

1  The  discerning  reader  will  at  once  detect  that  this  rapid  sketch  of 
the  evolution  of  money  is  drawn  from  its  history  in  the  Western  world. 
Nevertheless  money  is  vei'y  much  moi'e  ancient  than  the  Greek  writei"s 
pretended,  or  some  modern  ones  suppose. 


regulated  by  law.  Mining  for  the  money  raetals  was 
now  added  to  these  regulations  ;  taxation,  State  monopoli- 
sation, etc.,  being  the  means  employed.  The  number  of 
slaves  permitted  to  work  the  mines  was  regulated.  The 
importation  and  exportation  of  the  money  metals  was 
regulated.  The  right  to  strike  coins  was  limited  to  sacer- 
dotal authority,  and  confined  to  the  temples.  The  highest 
resources  of  art  were  bestowed  upon  the  designs.  Foreign 
coins  were  sometimes  monetised,  at  others  decried.  The 
individual  fabrication,  counterfeiting,  defacement,  melting 
down,  or  hoarding  of  coins  was  prohibited.  The  use  of 
the  money  metals  in  the  arts  was  restricted  or  forbidden. 
Because  gold  and  silver  are  twin  metals,  which  in  varying 
proportions  are  nearly  always  found  together  in  the  same 
matrix,  and  because  their  production  cannot  be  regulated 
at  man^s  will,  but  is  subject  to  great  vicissitudes  from 
chance  discoveries,  military  conquest,  and  other  causes, 
their  relative  value,  or  ratio,  cannot  be  determined  like 
that  of  other  commodities,  but  must  be  regulated  em- 
pirically. To  secure  permanency  in  this  ratio  it  was 
subjected  to  sacerdotal  authority  ;  and  we  shall  find  that, 
as  the  result  of  this  regulation,  it  remained  fixed  for 
centuries  ;  so  that  among  the  numei'ous  guides  to  his- 
torical research  afforded  by  the  attributes  of  money,  this 
is  one  of  the  most  conspicuous  and  reliable. 

Notwithstanding  these  various  regulations,  the  stability 
of  coins,  as  a  measure  of  value,  was  still  exposed  to  so 
much  disturbance  that  further  legal  measures,  of  greater 
and  greater  complexity,  were  adopted  to  secure  this 
important  object.  The  principal  disturbance  was  now 
created  by  the  wear  and  tear  and  subterranean  conceal- 
ment or  burial  of  coins,  and  the  failure  of  slave-mining  or 
foreign  conquest  to  make  good  the  continued  loss  of  gold 
and  silver  metal.  New  and  higher  denominations  of  value 
were  given  by  law  to  the  same  coins,  and  frequent  re- 
coinages  had  to  be  made,  at  great  expense  to  the  State 
and  great  risk  of  public  disorder.      The  evil  and  expense 


o£  re-coinage  was  attempted  to  be  avoided  by  still  further 
legislation.  The  weight  and  standard  of  the  new  issues 
of  coins  were  lowered,  as  the  denarii  of  Livius  Drusus. 
Emissions  were  made  of  still  more  highly  overvalued 
coins,  like  the  bronze  "  sesterces  "  of  the  Roman  Com- 
monwealth and  the  plated  coins  of  Claudius,  Trajan,  and 
Hadrian.  Finally,  as  related  elsewhere,  moneys  of  ac- 
count were  created  by  law,  called  libras,  sicilici,  and 
denarii  (£.  s.  d.).  This  was  essentially  merely  an  arith- 
metical scale  of  proportions  that  could  be  applied,  without 
the  necessity  of  re-coinage,  to  the  perplexing  variety  of 
existing  coins  which  had  now  obtained  currency  ;  and 
which,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  were  applied  not  only  to 
these,  but  also  to  measurements  of  land,  of  bread,  and  of 
other  things. 

It  will  thus  be  seen  that  money,  whatever  it  consisted 
of  originally,  grew  in  time  to  be  a  complex  instrument  of 
societary  life, — in  short,  an  Institution  of  Law,  designed 
to  measure  and  determine  value  ;  and  that  its  efl&ciency, 
precision,  stability,  and  equitable  operation  depended 
largely,  if  not  entirely,  upon  the  strength,  wisdom,  and 
virtue  of  the  government  by  whose  laws  it  was  created 
and  regulated.  Instead  of  the  simple  and  easy  subject 
which  some  modern  economists  have  airily  supposed  it  to 
be,  its  proper  understanding  involves,  as  has  been  shown 
elsewhere,  the  mastery  of  more  than  seventy  separate 
legal  institutes.  These  constitute  what  may  be  termed 
the  grammar  of  money .^ 

For  the  purposes  of  the  present  work  only  a  few  of 
these  institutes — those  which  are  already  most  familiar  to 
the  reading  public — have  been  employed.  Chief  among 
these  are  the  names  of  moneys,  the  inscriptions  upon 
them,  their  numismatic  family-names,  such  as  £.  s.  d.,  or 
ora,    scat,  styca,  etc.,   the   arithmetical  relations    of    the 

'  They   are  enumerated    at    leno;th   in   "  Monej   and    Civilisation," 
pp.  413-17. 


family,  whether  binary,  decimal,  octonary,  or  duodecimal ; 
the  law  of  legal-tender  ;  the  authority  to  coin  ;  and  the 
legal  ratio  of  value  between  gold  and  silver. 

The  reader  need  not  therefore  be  deterred  from  follow- 
ing the  text  through  any  fear  of  being  perplexed  or 
fatigued  by  technical  terms  or  references.  The  lights  by 
which  he  is  asked  to  steer  are  few  and  plainly  displayed. 




Antiquity  of  money  in  India — Moneys  of  the  Vedas — Braminical 
ramtenkis — Moneys  in  the  Mahabarata — Money  in  Panini's  sutras — 
Budhic  coins — Moneys  in  the  Code  of  Mann — The  darics  of  Persia 
coined  from  Indian  spoil  and  tributes — Indian  expeditions  of  Alexander 
and  Seleucus — Great  antiquity  of  Indian  civilization  attested  by  Megas- 
thenes — Bacchic  or  Budhic  eras  in  Pliny  and  Arrian — Pre-Grecian 
moneys  of  India  mentioned  by  the  Greek  writers — The  monetary  expe- 
rience of  ancient  India  lost  through  the  perversion  of  its  history — 
Scarcity  of  the  precious  metals  after  the  Greek  expeditions — Revival  of 
gold  and  silver  mining — Budhic  interdict  of  mining — Shipments  of 
silver  from  Eome  mentioned  by  Pliny — Indian  imitations  of  Eoman 
gold  coins — Coins  of  Julius  Caesar,  Marc  Antony,  Augustus,  and 
Claudius  found  in  the  topes — Epoch  of  copper  and  other  base  moneys — 
Cowries — Mahometan  raids  in  India — The  Quinto  and  other  spoils  sent 
westward — Continuation  of  copper  and  base  metal  epoch — Piivate  coin- 
age— Forbidden  by  Akbar — His  attempt  to  establish  silver  money  super- 
ceded by  the  East  India  Company — Moneys  and  revenues  of  the  Grand 
Moguls — The  Company's  monetaiy  system  of  1766 — System  of  1769 — 
Drain  of  precious  metals  from  Europe — Suspension  of  the  Bank  of  Eng- 
land— Monetary  system  of  1793 — Sir  James  Steuart — System  of  1800' — 
System  of  1835 — Silver  system  of  1852 — Issue  of  paper  money,  1868 — 
Suspension  of  Individual  coinage,  1893 — The  ratio  between  gold  and 
silver — Volume  of  money  in  India. 

nPHE  supei'ior  antiquity  of  coined  money  in  India  is 
-*-  established  by  its  mention  in  the  Vedas,  the  Maha- 
barata, and  the  sutras  of  Panini.  The  Rig  Veda  Sanhita 
alludes  to  ten  purses  (dusa  kosaiyih)  of  gold^  ten  pieces 
of  gold,  and  the  coins  dinara  and  niska.    The  Mahabarata 



frequently  alludes  to  moneys,  including  "  a  crore  of  gold 
coins/-"  Panini,  who  wrote  before  the  Persian  invasion  of 
India,  defines  several  monetary  terms,  among  them  rupya, 
from  rupu,  to  strike.  All  these  terms  are  still  in  use.  The 
Budhist  scriptures  contain  numerous  allusions  to  money  ; 
and  although  many  of  these  may  be  anachronical,  they, 
nevertheless,  support  the  main  argument.  The  antiquity 
of  money  in  India  is  confirmed  by  other  ancient  writings, 
by  ancient  epigraphic  monuments,  and  by  the  existence 
of  "  punch-marked  ''  coins  of  a  purely  Indian  type,  which, 
though  undated,  are  evidently  older  than  the  period  of 
the  Greek  invasion,  older  than  Budhism,  and,  according 
to  Wilson,  Marsden,  and  Thomas,  older  even  than  the 
Vedic  writings.  A  later  series  of  Indian  coins,  stamped 
with  Budhic  emblems,  are  probably  those  referred  to  in 
the  accounts  of  Arrian  and  Quintus  Curtius.^  Gold,  silver 
and  copper  coins  are  frequently  mentioned  in  the  Hindu 
Code,  or  Institutes  of  Manu ;  the  ramtenkis,  or  rama- 
tankahs,  probably  belong  to  the  Braminical  epoch  that 
preceded  Budhism  ;  the  archaic  coins  stamped  with  the 
figure  of  the  Sun,  countermarked  by  the  Budhic  emblems 
chaitya,  svastica,  cross,  bodhi-tree,  elephant,  bull,  etc., 
are  certainly  older  than  Budhism  ;  while  those  originally 
stamped  with  the  chaitya,  svastica,  tau,  cross,  crook  and 
lamb  (or  dog),  and  other  Budhic  emblems,  are  certainly  of 
pre-Grecian  date.  These  evidences  will  be  found  in  the 
writings  of  Cunningham,  Burnouf,  and  other  English 
and  Continental  orientalists,  many  of  whom  are  cited  in 
my  former  work  on  this  subject.  Together  they  furnish 
ample  basis  for  the  conclusion  that  coins  of  the  precious 
metals  were  used  in  India  at  epochs  far  more  remote 
than  can  be  attributed  to  any  coins  of  the  West. 

The  earliest  references  to  India  in  Western  literature 
allude  to  the  conquests  of  Darius  Hystaspes,  and  appear 
in  Herodotus.     Some  reference  to  this  era  also  appears  in 

'  Sir  A.  Cunningham  ("  Coins  of  Ancient  India,"  p.  49)  regards  the 
kaltis  mentioned  by  Arrian  as  a  gold  coin  of  about  52  grains. 

INDIA.  3 

the  emasculated  pages  of  Trogus  Pompeius  and  in  tlie 
Life  of  Apollonia  Tyanensis  by  Pliilostratus.  Tlie  Indian 
karshapana  (of  silver)  is  mentioned  by  Hesychius.^  About 
the  year  b.c.  525  Darius  appointed  Scylax  of  Cary- 
andra  to  take  command  of  a  squadron  of  boats^  fitted 
out  at  Caspatyrus,  in  the  country  of  Pactya  (the  modern 
Pehkely),  toward  the  upper  part  of  the  navigable  course  of 
the  River  Indus,  and  to  fall  down  its  stream  until  he  should 
reach  the  ocean.  The  account  which  Scylax  gave  of  the 
populousness,  fertility,  and  wealth  of  that  part  of  India 
through  which  he  passed  resulted  in  its  being  invaded 
about  the  year  521  by  Darius  himself;  and  although  his 
conquests  do  not  appear  to  have  extended  beyond  the  dis- 
trict watered  by  the  Indus,  he  returned  to  Persia  laden 
with  spoil,  after  having  imposed  tributes,  which  were  equal 
in  amount  to  nearly  a  third  of  the  whole  i*evenues  of  the 
Persian  monarchy.  It  was  probably  out  of  the  spoil  ob- 
tained from  this  expedition  that  Darius  struck  those  gold 
darics  which  are  mentioned  in  the  Old  Testament  as 
darkonim,  and  which  Mionnet  regarded  as  the  earliest 
coins  of  the  Western  world. ^ 

The  next  earliest  account  of  India  which  affords  a 
groundwork  for  historical  dates  is  derived  from  the  meagre 
chronicles  of  its  conquest  by  Alexander  the  Great  and 
afterwards  by  Seleucus  Nicanor,  which  appear  in  the 
pages  of  Strabo,  Diodorus,  Pliny,  Ptolemy,  Arrian,  and 
other  Western  writers.  Among  the  fragments  which  re- 
main to  us  is  the  Bacchic  (Budhic)  era  in  Pliny,^  which 
is  confirmed  by  Megasthenes  in  Arrian's  "  India. '^  This 
era  has  no  historical  value  beyond  what  it  derives  from 
the  period  and  circumstances  of  its  preservation.  It  can 
scarcely  be  supposed  that  Megasthenes,  who  lived  in  India 

^  Sir  A.  Cunningham,  p.  2. 

^  Herod.  Mel.,  44;  Justin,  lib.  ii ;  Philostr.  Vita  Apoll.;  lib.  iii, 
c.  47;  Oleurius  Tzetzet,  "Chiliad.,"  vii,  v,  630;  "Hist.  Mon.  Anc," 
p.  80  ;  Cunningham,  p.  21. 

'  Pliny,  "Nat.  Hist.,"  vi,  xxxi,  5. 


several  years,  pi'oserved  this  very  ancient  date  without  at 
least  believing  vaguely  in  the  great  antiquity  of  the  civi- 
lization to  which  it  belonged — an  opinion  that  now  derives 
corroboration  from  other  sources,  such  as  comparative 
philology,  the  advanced  state  of  the  mechanic  arts  in  India 
at  the  remotest  date  known  to  the  West,^  the  antiquity  of 
the  Vedic  scriptures,  and  the  numismatic  remains. 

The  earliest  Indian  coins  extant  are  neither  of  gold  nor 
silver,  but  of  a  mixture  of  the  two  metals.  This  mixture, 
the  appearance  of  which,  probably  marks  an  era  when 
alluvial  mines  were  succeeded  by  shallow  quartz  openings, 
carries  us  back  to  the  ramtenkis  of  the  Bramiuical  epoch. 
The  much  later  coins  of  Argos  and  Lydia  are  of  the  same 
material.  This  the  Greeks  called  electrum — a  name  de- 
rived by  them  from  its  amber  coloui',  and  this,  again, 
from  the  amber  procured  from  the  Veneti  of  the  Baltic. 
The  Japanese  used  similar  coins  so  late  as  1866.  In  the 
Braminical  monetary  systems  the  arithmetical  relations 
were  evidently  decimal.  One  thousand  copper  panas 
equalled  in  value  100  silver  retti,  or  10  silver  siccals,  or  1 
gold  suvarna.  The  suvarna  seems  to  have  contained 
about  180  English  grains  fine  gold,  the  siccal  about  90 
grains  fine  silver.  If  these  premises  are  correct,  5  silver  =  1 

It  is  to  the  epoch  following  the  Mahabarata  wars 
(b.c.  1650,  Pococke ;  B.C.  1367,  Prinsep)  that  must  be 
ascribed  that  severe  dearth  of  the  precious  metals  in 
India,  which  is  evinced  by  the  use  of  cowries  and  other 
commodity-moneys  of  illimitable  supply,  and  of  the  prac- 
tice of  that  strange  abstention  from  the  employment  of 
the  precious  metals  which  is  enjoined  by  the  Budhic  Ten 
Commandments  of  the  Yinaya,  and  mentioned  farther  on. 
In  the  Brama-Budhic  monetary  systems  of  a  period  that 
comes  within  the  scope  of  "Western  literature,  the  precious 
metals  again  crept  into  use.      The  principal  piece  of  this 

'  For  Indian  articles  in  Egyptian  tombs  ascribed  to  fifteenth  century 
S.C.,  consult  Wilkinson. 

INDIA.  5' 

period  was  called  tlie  dhai-ana,  and  contained  140  grains 
fine  gold ;  the  silver  siccal  about  84  grains.  Ten  of 
these  equalled  in  value  1  dliarana,  consequently  the  ratio 
was  G  silver  =  1  gold.  Siccals  mean  literally  knife- 
money  ;  the  same  root  giving  us  scythe,  sickle,  scissors, 
chisel,  and  other  words  for  cutting-insti-uments.  There 
is  reason  to  believe  that  from  the  eighth  to  the  fourth 
century  befoi-e  our  era  the  Indian  ratios  varied  from  6  to 
6^  silver  =  1  gold  in  weight.  As  between  Northern 
and  Southern,  or  maritime  India,  the  smaller  ratio  pre- 
vailed in  the  South,  where  it  was  pi-obably  about  6|- 
for  1.  The  prevailing  ratios  deduced  by  Leon  Faucher 
from  the  most  ancient  monetary  equivalents  in  tlie  Code 
of  Manu  varied  from  G  to  8  for  1. 

In  the  time  of  Cyrus  and  Darius,  of  Persia,  the  mone- 
tary systems  of  India  were  probably  based  upon  the  gold 
dharana  of  about  130  grains  fine,  equal  in  value  to  10 
silver  siccals  of  about  84|  grains  fine  each,  a  ratio  of 
6|  for  1.      There  were  5  silver  masheh  to  the  siccal. 

Whatever  these  conclusions  may  signify  to  us  in  the 
future,  they  possess  but  little  worth  at  present.  The 
history  of  antiquity  is  obscured  by  mythology,  and  until 
this  cover  is  removed  from  the  story  of  the  ages,  no 
valid  chronology  can  be  arranged  and  no  practical  lessons 
gleaned  from  the  cold  lips  of  the  distant  centuries. 
Could  the  monetary  experiences  of  India  be  gathered  for 
the  modern  world  they  would  prove  of  priceless  merit, 
for  India  has  evidently  essayed  and  suffered  everything 
in  the  way  of  monetary  experiment.  Unfortunately,  its 
experience  is  lost  in  clouds  of  fable  and  historical  per- 
version. As  a  basis  for  legislation  it  is  essentially  worth- 
less, and  the  future  of  the  East  will  have  to  be  gathered 
from  the  experience  of  the  West,  for  there  the  truth  of 
history  has  been,  at  least,  far  less  grossly  violated. 

The  marauding  expeditions  of  Darius,  Alexander,  and 
Seleucus  again  divested  India  of  her  hoards  of  the  precious 
metals,  this  time   to  so  great  an  extent  as  to  lead,  during 


succeeding  ages,  to  tlie  almost  exclusive  use  of  copper  for 
coins.  Marsden  (p.  53)  finds  numei'ous  evidences  of  this 
in  tlie  altered  Code  of  Manu  ;  Thomas  deduces  the  same 
conclusion  from  a  study  of  the  extant  coins ;  -svhile 
Pausanias  went  so  far  as  to  suppose  (probably  because 
the  Indians  of  his  day  possessed  but  a  scanty  stock  of 
the  precious  metals)  that  they  were  entirely  unacquainted 
with  money.  In  my  former  work  on  this  subject,  from 
which  many  of  these  circumstances  and  considerations 
are  repeated,  I  followed  Marsden  and  Thomas,  and  ven- 
tured to  believe  that  such  few  coins  as  existed  of  the 
precious  metals  were  valued  in  the  baser  coins,  and  used, 
as  multipliers  for  large  sums  of  them,  the  groundwork  of 
the  system  being  copper  coins.  In  spite  of  the  Budhic 
interdiction  of  gold,  this  scarcity  must  have  led  to  a 
revival  of  mining,  as  it  certainly  did  to  the  establishment 
of  a  vast  commerce  with  the  West,  both  overland  and  by 
sea  (chiefly  through  Egypt),  the  primary  object  of  which, 
to  India,  was  the  recovery  of  the  precious  metals  which 
she  had.  lost  through  tlie  inferiority  of  her  arms. 

In  the  time  of  Pliny  the  Indians  took  as  much  as  fifty 
to  a  hundred  million  sesterces  per  annum  in  silver  from 
Rome,  and  although  this  was  largely  paid  for  with  mer- 
chandise, some  of  it  was  paid  for  with  gold  at  a  rate  for 
silver  that  yielded  the  Romans  nearly  cent,  per  cent, 

Of  the  gold  thus  sent  to  Rome  a  portion  was  coined  in 
India,  in  imitation  of  the  Roman  aureus,  and  specimens 
of  this  singular  coinage  are  still  extant.  The  writer  has 
examined  several  of  them,  and  fouqd  them  to  be  rather 
paler  in  colour  than  the  Roman  gold  coins,  probably 
owing  to  the  presence  of  a  small  proportion  of  silver  in 
the  native  metal,  which  the  Indians  were  unable  to  extract. 
Cowries  were  used  for  small  change  in  India  at  this 
period.  Some  were  found  in  the  Manikyala  tope,  in  the 
Punjaub,  mingled  with  Sassanian  and  Roman  moneys. 
Among  the   latter  were   coins    of  Julius  Caesar,  with  the 

INDIA.  7 

Stat*,  alluding  to  liis  apotheosis  ;  of  Marc  Antony  as  Osiris, 
with  the  radiated  head  of  the  Sun,  and  of  Augustus 
Filius  Dei.  The  Arabian  superscriptions  on  the  Sassa- 
uian  coins  prove  that  the  tope  was  erected  in  the  eighth 
century  of  our  era,  so  that  these  coins  must  have  been 
preserved  for  three-fourths  of  a  millenium,  to  be  buried 
here  for  another  millenium.  Among  the  treasures  of  the 
Madras  Museum  is  a  gold  coin  of  Claudius,  struck  to 
commemorate  his  conquest  of  distant  Britain,  which 
now — such  have  been  the  mutations  of  empire — is  the 
suzerain  of  all  India  and  its  sovereign  the  Great 

Whatever  relief  India  derived  from  mining  and  trading 
for  the  precious  metals  was  lost  again  after  the  eighth 
century,  when  the  Moslem  raids  into  that  country  began, 
because  these  coveted  metals  formed  an  essential  part  of 
their  spoil,  one-fifth  of  which  was  religiously  sent  to  the 
Arabian  caliph,  while  the  remainder  went  to  enrich  the 
homes  of  the  spoilers  in  Merv,  Bagdad,  and  Damascus. 

The  Arabian  merchant  Suleiman,  a.d.  851,  said  that 
in  his  time  the  principal  money  of  Bengal  consisted  of 
billon  dirhems,  called  tahiria  or  thaterya,  which  went  for 
14  silver  dirhems  each.  These,  however,  were  of  Arabian 
mintage,  coined  by  the  dynasty  of  Tahir,  which  began 
with  Tahir-bin-al-Husain,  a.d.  820.  In  the  Tabakat-i- 
Nasiri,  or  diary  of  Minhaj-us-Siraj,  a.d.  1242—4,  it  is 
stated  that  in  Bengal  cowries  supplied  the  place  of  the 
chitals  used  in  the  north-west  provinces.^  At  Calicut,  on 
the  coast  of  Malabar,  the  current  money  used  by  merchants 
in  the  foreign  trade  consisted  of  Genoese  coins,  which 
reached  India  by  way  of  the  Euxine  and  Trebizond.- 
The  polic}'  of  prohibiting  the  exportation  of  bullion^  also 
belongs    to   this   interval,  whose   copper    and    other  base 

^  Phavre's  "  Coins  of  Buvmah,"  in  Num.  Orient. 
-  Anderson's  "Hist.  Com.,"  i,  224. 
3  Bell's  "  Geog.,"  iv,  476. 


metal  systems  sufficiently  attest  tlie  scarcity  of  silver  and 

More  interesting  to  us  than  perhaps  any  other  feature 
of  India's  dimly-outlined  monetary  shifts  is  the  private 
coinage  of  the  precious  metals^  which  appears  to  have 
grown  up  at  this  period. 

Thomas^  states  that  during  the  Mahometan  era  the 
sovereigns  of  the  Deccan  accorded  to  goldsmiths  and 
other  private  individuals  the  right  to  coin  gold  and  silver, 
provided,  adds  Sir  .J.  Malcolm,  that  the  pieces  bore  the 
royal  devices.  Marsden  (p.  57)  regarded  this  custom  as 
of  still  more  ancient  date.  Ferishtah"  and  Sir  J.  Malcolm^ 
both  describe  the  same  custom.  The  latter  adds  that 
there  were  no  limits  to  the  privilege,  the  government 
merely  exacting  a  seigniorage  of  about  2^  per  cent. 
Such  a  privilege  now  goes  by  the  name  of  Private  or  Free 
Coinage.  Its  origin,  history,  and  consequences  are  of 
great  interest  to  the  Western  world,  which  has  permitted 
free  coinage  now  for  nearly  three  centuries,  not  without 
grave  suspicions  of  its  wisdom  and  equity.  In  one  respect 
the  free  coinage  of  gold  and  silver  in  India  at  this  period 
possesses  no  more  significance  to  the  sovereigns  who  per- 
mitted it  than  the  free  coinage  of  copper  into  tradesmen's 
tokens  had  in  the  Western  world,  in  some  states  within 
the  writer's  memory.  The  metallic  basis  of  the  Indian 
monetary  systems  of  this  epoch  was  neither  gold  nor 
silver,  but  base  metals.  India  had  been  so  often  plun- 
dered by  foreign  conquerors  that  it  was  not  until  after 
shipments  .of  silver  bullion  commenced  from  America, 
about  1540,  that  she  acquired  enough  of  the  precious 
metals  to  warrant  her  Moslem  potentates  in  endeavouring 
to  bring  their  monetary  systems  into  correspondence  with 
the  Moslem  systems  of  the  West.  This  they  did  by  coin- 
ing  gold   and   silver.      It  was    Sher  Shah  who,  in   1542^ 

'  "  Pathan  Kings  of  Delhi,"  p.  344. 

2  u  Bombay  Text,"  i,  537. 

^  "  Central  India,"  1832,  ii,  80. 

INDIA.  9- 

first  struck  the  four-dirliem  pieces, formerly  called  tankalis,. 
aud  now  first  called  rupees,  and  it  was  Akbar  tlie  Great, 
1555—1604,  who  interdicted  private  coinage  of  the  precious 
metals,  and  by  whom  a  notable  but  abortive  attempt  Avas 
made  to  establish  payments  on  the  basis  of  silver  coins 
struck  by  the  government.  However,  it  was  not  until  a 
similar  policy  (of  changing  from  copper  to  silver  money) 
was  pursued  by  the  East  India  Company,  in  1766,  that  it 
succeeded.  Its  accomplishment,  as  we  shall  presently 
see,  was  not  only  a  severe  check  to  the  prosperity 
of  India,  it  plunged  the  entire  Western  world  into- 

The  Mahometan  rulers  of  India  would  at  any  time 
have  preferred  to  change  the  monetary  basis  from  copper 
to  silver  had  not  the  scarcity  of  this  metal  rendered  the 
policy  hazardous.  A  half  measure — which,  like  most  half 
measures  in  monetary  systems,  only  engendered  doubt 
and  hastened  the  failure  of  the  attempt — was  substituted 
instead.  This  was  the  introduction  of  billon  jitals  of  a 
value  between  the  largest  copper  coin  and  the  smallest 
silver  multiple,  and  the  use  of  these  pieces  as  a  common 
denominator  of  value.  However,  the  legal  ordinances  or 
customs,  which  valued  all  gold  aud  silver  coins  in  copper 
ones,  and  thus  based  the  monetary  measure  upon  copper 
coins,  were  not  abrogated  ;  so  that  the  requirement  or 
custom  of  using  the  new  billon  pieces  as  a  denominator, 
whilst  it  seemingly  changed  the  pre-existing  system,  did 
not  do  so  in  reality.^ 

The  new  coin  was  known  in  the  Punjaub  as  the 
delhiwalla,  after  the  name  of  the  place  where  it  was 
fabricated.  Elsewhere  it  was  called  the  jital  or  chital. 
In  the  reign  of  Firoz  Shah  it  was  composed  of  about 
forty-two  grains  of  copper,  and  from  twelve  to  fourteen 
gi'ains  of  silver,  and  derived  its  value  from  the  legal 
regulation,  which    made    it    equal    to  a  given    number  of 

'  The  jital  or  chital  is  the  common  money  of  Hindostan,  says  the 
"  Tabakat-i-Nasiri,"  "  Pathan  Kings  of  Delhi,'"'  111. 


•copper  coins.  It  was  in  these  billon  coins  that  all  sums 
of  money  were  expressed.  For  example,  "  a  lak " 
(100,000)  meant  in  Northern  India  100,000  delhiwallas, 
or  cliitals  ;  just  as  "  a  million  "  now  means  in  France  a 
million  francs,  in  America  a  million  dollars,  and  in 
England  a  million  pounds  sterling.  The  auriferous  con- 
tents of  the  chital  would  require  10  to  12  of  them 
to  equal  the  adali,  and  12  to  14  to  the  full  weighted 
silver  tankah.  However,  the  actual  value  of  the  chital 
in  silver  coins  can  neither  be  determined  a  j>riori 
from  the  quantity  of  silver,  nor  its  value  in  copper  coins 
from  the  quantity  of  copper,  it  contained.  Its  value  in 
both  of  these  classes  of  coins  was  fixed  by  law,  whilst  its 
value  in  commodities  depended  on  the  whole  number  of 
chitals,  indeed,  the  whole  sum  of  money  of  which  it  formed 
a  part,  and  by  many  other  circumstances  both  in  law  and 
in  fact. 

In  Bengal  the  system  of  copper  money,  with  cowrie 
dividers  and  gold  and  silver  multipliers,  remained  un- 
changed for  a  long  period.  It  unfortunately  happens 
that  those  who  have  communicated  to  us  any  knowledge 
■of  this  system  have  valued  the  cowries,  not  in  copper  coins, 
to  which  they  were  nearest  related  by  law,  but  either  in 
the  silver  or  gold  ones,  from  which  they  were  the  farthest 
removed  by  law,  but  which  were  more  familiar  to  our 

The  common  money  of  Bengal,  says  Ibn  Batuta,  an 
Arabian  traveller  of  the  fourteenth  century,  is  composed 
of  cowries.  A  bustus  is  a  lak  of  cowries,  and  four  laks 
go  to  a  gold  dinar.  On  other  occasions  he  states  the 
equivalent  at  twelve  laks  of  cowries  to  the  gold  dinar. 

In  Orissa,  which  is  the  next  kingdom  south  of  Bengal, 
the  following  equivalents  prevailed  : — 1  four-dirhem  piece, 
or  kahawan  =  10  silver  masheh  =  20  puns  =  80  boories  =  400 
gundas  =  1,600  cowries.^       Skipping,    in    this    place,  over 

^  The  kalmwan  varied  from  16  to  20  puns.     The  ettmologj  of  the  pun 
has  been  traced  to  the  pani,  or  handful,  but  this  may  be  a  mere  verbal 

INDIA.  11 

four  centuries  of  time,  and  coming  to  the  end  of  Moslem 
rule  in  India,  to  wit,  the  year  1740,  a  rupee,  or  four- 
dirhem  piece,  fetched  2,400  cowries  ;  1756,  2,560  cowries  ; 
1814,  2,560  cowries';  1833,  6,400  cowries;  1845,  6,500 
cowries.  Some  of  these  figures  are  derived  from  acci- 
dental allusions  in  books  of  travel,  and  not  from  any 
systematic  averages  of  the  value  of  cowries  during  the 
years  mentioned.  Until  the  entire  monetary  systems  of 
which  these  cowries  formed  a  part  are  rescued  from 
oblivion,  particularly  their  relation  to  the  copper  coins, 
and  the  relation  of  the  latter  to  commodities,  their  value 
in  the  silver  and  gold  multipliers  of  the  periods  named 
can  serve  no  practical  use. 

The  system  of  Mahomet-bin-Tuglak  embraced  the 
following  features  : — 1st,  to  alter  the  basic  material  of 
moneys  from  copper  to  silver ;  2nd,  to  render  money 
more  abundant  ;  3rd,  to  levy  the  tributes  in  money 
instead  of  produce.  Shaikh  Mubai-ak,  an  Egyptian 
traveller  of  the  fourteenth  century,  has  left  us  a  complete 
scale  of  the  equivalents  employed  in  this  system,  as 
follows  : 

Monetary  system  of  Mahomet-bin-Tiiglal-,  a.d.  1324-51. 

4  copper  fals  =  1  chital,  or  delhiwalla  (or  ani). 

2  chitals  =  1  dokani,  or  sultaui. 

6       „  =;  1  shah-ani. 

8       ,,  =1  hasht-ani. 

12       „  =1  dui-wazdah-aiii. 

16       ,,  ^1  shanzdah-ani. 

64       „  =1  silver  tankah. 

It  is  very  evident  that  in  this  scale  the  chital  or  ani 
is  the  principal  coin,  and  it  must  have  been  composed  of 
■copper  plated  with  silver;  for  at  160  to  166  grains  of 
silver  to    the    tankah    of   this    period"  there    could    have 

■coincidence.     The  pun  is  still  employed  in  Bengal  as  the  equivalent  of 
•80  cowries. 

*  Bell's  "  Geog.,"  iv,  520. 

2  Mai-sden,  36,  and  Thomas,  P.  K.  D.,  114. 


been  but  2^  g'rains  of  silver  to  the  cliital.  The  system 
of  Mahomet-bin-Tuglak  was,  therefore,  a  copper  one  ;. 
and  bej^ond  the  fact  that  this  kind  of  money  became 
more  pleutlful  and  available  for  the  payment  of  taxes,  it 
does  not  appear  to  have  essentlall}^  differed  from  its  pre- 
decessors, all  of  which  were  systems  of  copper  coins, 
with  a  few  gold  and  silver  multipliers,  the  latter  strnck 
more  for  proclamatory  purposes  and  show  than  for  com- 
mon use  as  money.  Says  Thomas  :  "  The  standard,  if 
any  distinct  conception  of  its  meaning  as  we  understand 
it  existed  at  all,  seems  to  have  been  based  upon  the 
primitive  copper  currency,  which  was  of  such  universal 
distribution  as  to  be  confessedly  less  liable  to  fluctuation 
than  gold  or  silver.'^  In  another  place  he  says  :  "  The 
real  prevailing  currency  of  the  realm  consisted  of  billon 
money  and  copper  pieces."  In  the  reign  of  Tuglak's 
successor,  Firoz  Shah,  the  chital  was  raised,  as  before 
stated,  to  12  to  14  grains  of  silver,  combined  with  38 
to  41  grains  of  copper  ;  ^  whilst  in  the  reign  of  Bahlol 
Lodi,  1450-88,  the  tankah  was  debased  until  it  con- 
tained but  56  grains  of  silver.  A  century  later  Sher 
Shah  I'aised  it  to  175  grains,  and  called  it  the  rupee. 
When  Akbar,  the  sixth  in  descent  from  Timur,  recovered 
Delhi  from  the  Pathans,  conquered  the  whole  of  north- 
west India  to  Kabul  and  Kandahar,  and  merged  all  these 
kingdoms,  together  with  several  provinces  of  the  Deccan, 
into  one  great  empire,  he  coined  a  rupee  of  170^  grains 
fine,  and  established  its  value  at  40  copper  or  billon 
dams,  each  weighing  5  tanks  (not  tankahs)  ;  the  seig- 
niorage on  the  rupee  being  5 4  per  cent,  ad  valorem. 
These  last  he  made  some  efforts  to  force  into  the  circula- 
tion, and  endeavoured  to  retire  the  copper  coins  ;  but 
the  attempt   was  a  distinct    failure,  not  so   much   from  a 

>  H.  M.  A.,  104. 

2  In  his  earlier  writintjfs,  Mr.  Tliomas  reckoned  20  dams  to  the  rupee; 
afterwards  lie  was  positive  that  there  were  40  dams  to  the  rupee.  The- 
last  is  right  (Cunningliam,  p.  25). 

INDIA.  13 

scarcity  of  silver  metal,  which  now  came  in  more  plenti- 
fully from  America  and  Europe,  as  from  the  difficulty  of 
changing  the  habits  of  the  country.  "  Certainly  in 
Akbar's  time,  when  theory  was  more  distinctly  applied 
to  the  subject  (of  money),  copper  was  established  as  the 
authoritative  basis  of  all  money  computations."  ^ 

In  Gibbon^s  account  of  Indian  moneys,  which  formed 
a  study  for  use  in  his  great  work  on  "  The  Decline  and 
Fall  of  the  Roman  Empire,"  he  says  that  the  rupee,  a 
silver  coin  of  the  Grand  Mogul,  is  common  throughout 
India.  Its  weight  varies  from  178^  to  179  grains  ;  its 
fineness  98  to  99  in  the  100  ;  its  value  in  Eugland  about 
2s.  6d.  sterling ;  the  gold  rupee  (mohur)  is  worth  30s. 
sterling.      The  ratio  of  silver  to  gold  is  12^  for  1. 

A  lak  (ten  thousand)  of  rupees    ....  £12,500. 

A  crore  (one  hundred  laks)  of  dams     .         .         .  31,250. 

A  crore  (one  hundred  laks)  o£  rupees  .         .         .         1,250,000. 
An  arrib  (one  hundred  crores)  of  rupees      .         .     125,000,000. 
The  dam  is  an  ideal  coin,  valued  at  the  fortieth  of  a  rupee. 

In  the  above  account  Gibbon  made  several  blunders. 
The  ratio  of  silver  to  gold  was  10,  not  12^,  to  1  ;  because 
in  the  dominions  of  the  Grand  Mogul  10  silver  rupees 
went  to  the  gold  rupee,  or  mohur,  of  precisely  the  same 
weight.  The  12|  ratio  was  the  result  of  a  conflict,  or 
average,  between  the  gold  and  silver  valuations  (ratio) 
made  by  the  East  India  Company  and  by  the  European 
States,  but  this  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  system  of  the 
Grand  Mogul.  The  lak  was  not  10,000,  but  100,000. 
The  dam  was  not  an  ideal,  but  an  actual  coin.  When 
corrected.  Gibbon's  table  would  stand  as  follows  : 

System  of  the  Grand  Mogul  previous  to  1766. 

5  tanks    =  1  billon  dam. 
40  dams    :=  1  silver  rupee  of  175  grains  fine. 
10  rupees  =  1  gold  rupee,  or  mohur,  of  175  grains  fine. 
Hence,  ratio  10  for  1. 

>  Thomas,  P.  K.  D.,  231. 


Converted  into  English  equivalents  at  the  (English) 
ratio,  which  at  that  time  was  15  for  1,  a  lak  of  rupees  was 
worth  about  £10,000  ;  a  crore  of  dams  £25,000  ;  a  crore  of 
rupees  £1,000,000;  and  an  arrib  of  rupees  £100,000,000.^ 

The  history  of  the  coinage  in  India,  as  in  other 
countries,  is  inseparably  connected  with  its  political 
affairs.  It  was  the  spoils  of  Europe,  gathered  by 
Napoleon,  that  threw  into  the  French  mints  the  immense 
treasures  which  enabled  their  coinage  to  control  the  ratio 
of  the  commercial  world  for  three-fourths  of  a  century.  It 
was  the  spoils  of  India,  gathered  by  Clive,  and  coined  for 
the  benefit  of  his  army,  that  (aided  by  other  circumstances) 
led  to  the  suspension  of  the  Bank  of  England  in  1797. 

The  spoliation  of  India  began  with  the  operations  of 
1749,  and  reached  what  might  be  termed  its  systematic 
phase  after  the  battle  of  Plassy  in  1757.  Down  to 
this  time  the  legal-tender  money  of  India  consisted 
essentially  of  copper  and  billon  coins.  The  demands  of 
the  victorious  forces,  now  laden  with  the  plunder  of 
palaces,  temples,  and  other  receptacles,  very  naturally 
led  to  a  large  coinage  of  gold  and  silver.  This  began, 
according  to  Mr.  William  Winfred  "Webb  "  in  1759  ;  it  was 
rendered  effective  by  the  coinage  provisions  of  1766, 
Avhich  not  only  legalised  the  new  issues  but  imposed  no  limit 
upon  them  ;  in  other  words,  they  established  the  private 
coinage  of  gold  and  silver  in  the  Company's  mints,  and 
practically  demonetised  copper  and  billon. 

This  system  included  a  gold  mohur  of  179*66  grains,  or 
149*72  grains  fine,  valued  at  14  sicca  rupees.  Both  of 
these  coins  were  made  full  legal  tenders.  The  sicca  rupees 
of  Allum  Ghir  (1759)  contained  175" 8  grains  fine  silver. 
This  was  also  the  contents  of  the  sicca  rupee  struck  by 
the  East  India  Company  at  Calcutta.^  At  14  rupees  to  the 
mohur  this  made  a  ratio  of   16'438  for  1.     The  rupees  of 

1  Gibbon's  Misc.  Works,  4to  ed.,  1815,  iii,  472. 
-  "  Currencies  of  Eajputana,"  1893. 
5  Kellv. 

INDIA.  15 

Shah  Allum  (1772)  contained  175  grains  fine  silver.^  At 
14  rupees  to  the  mohur  this  made  a  ratio  of  16'36-4  for  1. 
Both  of  these  ratios  were  too  high;  not  only  for  India 
but  also  for  England,  indeed,  for  any  country  at  that  time. 
The  consequence  was  that  the  sicca  rupees  were  hoarded. 

In  1769  the  East  India  Company  issued  a  new  mohur  of 
190' 773  grains,  or  190"086  grains  fine,  to  go  for  16  sicca 
rupees.  Compared  with  the  rupees  of  175*8  grains  fine, 
this  was  a  ratio  of  14"81  for  1.  According  to  Dow's 
'^  Ferishtah  "  (i,  37),  the  so-called  bazaar  value  of  silver,  or 
rather  the  conflict  ratio — between  India  and  Europe — at 
this  period,  was  14  silver  for  1  gold,  so  that  even  at 
14"81  the  mohur  was  rated  too  high.  However,  na 
practical  difiiculty  resulted  from  this  lack  of  precision, 
and  the  two  coins  circulated  side  by  side  until  1793. 

In  this  year  (1793)  the  East  India  Company  issued  a  new 
mohur  of  190*895  grains,  or  189"4037  fine,  and  a  new" 
sicca  rupee  of  1 75*923  grains  fine,  valuing  the  mohur  at 
16  rupees.  This  was  a  ratio  of  14*86  for  1.  The  weight 
of  this  mohur  is  given  by  Harrison  from  the  records  of 
the  Mint,  and  it  agrees  with  that  of  the  "  Nineteenth  Sun  '* 
mohur  published  by  Kelly.  In  this  system,  however,, 
the  silver  rupees  were  the  only  full  legal  tenders,  so  that 
the  ratio  of  silver  to  gold  was  of  no  practical  importance. 

The  mistakes  committed  by  the  East  India  Company  in 
endeavouring  to  unify  the  coinages  of  a  multitude  of 
native  states  were,  perhaps,  unavoidable  ;  but  they  were 
unnecessarily  aggravated  by  the  unwisdom  of  the  Com- 
pany in  soliciting  the  advice  of  Sir  James  Steuart,^ 
who,  in  his  work  on  this  subject,  not  only  evinced  entire 
unfitness  to  expound  or  apply  the  principles  of  money,  but 
offered  them  the  observations  of  a  pedant,  when  they 
needed  those  of  a  statesman.  It  cannot  be  too  often 
repeated  that  before  the  British    conquest   of  India  the 

1  Kelly. 

^  "  The  Principles  of  Money  applied  to  the  present  state  of  the  Coin, 
of  Bengal,"  1772. 


money  of  tliat  country  consisted  essentially  of  copper  and 
billon  coins^  with  a  comparatively  few  multipliers  of  gold 
and  silver.  The  blunder  of  1766  was  not  so  much  in 
valuing  gold  too  high^  nor  in  making  both  gold  and  silver 
coins  sole  legal  tenders,  as  it  was  in  making  coins  of  either  of 
these  metals  sole  legal  tenders.  The  practical  result  of  this 
enactment  was  to  demonetise  the  bulk  of  the  current  money 
of  India,  and  to  cause  a  fall  of  prices  in  that  country,  which 
manifested  itself  in  a  desire  to  obtain  possession  of  the 
precious  metals  at  any  sacrifice  and  in  increased  exports 
of  merchandise  to  Europe. 

The  consequence  was  a  large  and  steady  drain  of  gold 
and  silver  from  the  West  to  pay  for  these  exports.  The 
mohurs  and  rupees  coined  at  the  mints  of  Calcutta  and 
Bombay  did  not  go  to  the  people  of  India,  but  to  the 
conquerors  of  that  country  ;  and  the  people  were  left 
without  the  means  of  discharging  their  mutual  obligations 
or  of  prosecuting  trade,  unless  they  procured  such  means 
from  Europe.  The  British  commercial  statistics  do  not 
show  the  vast  movement  of  the  precious  metals  to  India  at 
this  period  because  England  was  at  war  with  France,  and 
much  of  her  trade  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Americans. 
Bai'on  von  Humboldt  estimated  the  export  to  Asia  toward 
the  end  of  the  last  century  as  equal  to  more  than  £5,300,000 
per  annum,  and  of  this  amount  the  bulk  went  to  India.  It 
will  hardly  be  denied  that  such  a  drain  as  this,  aggravated 
as  it  was  by  the  plunder  of  the  French  armies  in  Europe, 
had  much  to  do  with  that  scarcity  of  the  precious  metals 
at  commercial  centres,  which  culminated  in  the  suspension 
of  the  Bank  of  England ;  and  it  cannot  be  gainsaid  that 
if  a  similar  blunder  is  committed  at  the  present  time  by 
demonetising  silver  and  attempting  to  inti'oduce  a  gold 
currency  into  India,  it  will  be  followed  by  somewhat 
similar  consequences. 

In  1800  the  East  India  Company  issued  a  new  Bombay 
mohur  of  179  grains,  or  164*68  grains  fine.^  This  coin  is  pub- 

^  Harrison. 

INDIA.  17 

lished  by  Kelly  as  the  Bombay  gold  rupee  of  1818.  It  Avas 
ordered  to  pass  current  for  15  rupees  of  the  same  con- 
tents, that  is  to  say,  current  rupees  of  the  Lucknow 
weight  and  standard,  which  Harrison  gives  at  165*2  grains 
fine  and  Kelly  at  166"5  grains  fine.  Both  the  mohurs  and 
rupees  were  made  full  legal  tenders.^  Henceforth  the 
coinages  of  the  East  India  Company  were  all  directed  toward 
a  unification  of  East  India  gold  and  silver  moneys  on  the 
basis  of  a  mohur  of  165  grains  fine,  to  pass  for  15  rupees 
of  the  same  weight  and  fineness.  It  would  detain  the 
reader  too  long  to  describe  the  various  changes  that  took 
place.  Suffice  it  to  say  that  in  1838  this  unification  was 
substantially  completed,  and  that  in  September,  1835,  the 
mohurs  were  demonetised,  and  the  Company  rupee  of 
180  grains,  0*91 6|-  standard,  or  165  grains  fine,  were 
declared  sole  legal  tenders  throughout  all  British  India. 
Mohurs  continued  to  be  coined  of  the  same  weight  and 
fineness  as  the  rupees,  their  nominal  value  being  15 
rupees,  while  their  actual  value  fluctuated  with  the  price 
of  gold  metal.  With  slight  interruption  this  system  con- 
tinued until  the  Company's  authority  in  India  was  super- 
seded by  that  of  the  British  Government  (in  1858),  when 
the  same  system  was  adopted  by  the  Crowu,  and  con- 
tinued without  change  until  the  suspension  of  free  coinage 
for  silver,  23rd  June,  1893.  The  mohur  and  rupee,  now 
called  the  Government  rupee,  are  still  struck  at  the  same 
weight,  namely,  165  grains  fine.  There  were  formerly 
many  lighter  rupees  struck  by  native  or  Moslem  I'ulers  in. 
circulation,  varying  from  147  to  164  grains,  known  as 
"  current  rupees,"  which  were  for  the  most  part  valued 
at  0*9195  Government  rupees  each,  but  have  since  been 
called  in  and  melted  down.  A  very  full  and  precise 
account  of  them  is  published  by  Kelly. 

Influenced  by  the  native  custom  of  private  coinage 
mentioned  above,  perhaps  also  unconsciously  by  the 
operation  of  the  British  Mint  Act  of  1666,  the  East  India 

»  Kelly,  94. 



Company  entertained  and  acted  upon  the  delusive  theory 
that  money,  whose  volume  may  be  limited,  and  metal, 
whose  volume  is  practically  illimitable,  were  one  and  the 
same  thing — a  delusion  which  is  almost  as  rife  now  as  it 
was  then.  Hence,  following-  the  legislation  of  Charles 
II.,  it  threw  open  its  mints  to  unlimited  private  coinage^ 
levying  upon  such  coinage  only  the  slight  seigniorage 
shown  in  the  table  below.  After  a  series  of  experiments, 
commencing  with  the  Company  in  1766  and  ending  with 
the  Crown  in  1893,  the  government  of  India  finally  came 
to  the  conclusion  that,  in  spite  of  the  Act  of  1666,  there 
was  a  difference  between  money  and  metal,  and  it  now 
seems  determined  to  mark  this  difference  by  keeping  the 
prerogative  of  coinage  in  its  own  hands  and  for  the 
benefit  of  the  empire  at  large. 

Seigniorage  charged  by  the  Mints  of  British  India. 










Kelly's  "  Cambist,"  i,  91. 










and  refining  charge. 






























ss.  19  to  26  Act  of  1870  repealed. 

Besides  the  British  mints  of  India,  there  still  exist 
many  native  ones,  whose  issues  have  not  yet  been  sub- 
jected to  British  administration.  These  issues  will  be 
alluded  to  farther  on.  The  currency  of  Barroda, 
Rajputana,  Central  India,  and  Hyderabad  remains  native 
to  the  present  day,  while  Spanish  dollars  and  other  foreign 
silver  coins  still  circulate  in  Upper  Scinde^.  It  need 
hardly  be  stated  that  none  of  these  native  or  foreign 
coins  are  legal  tenders  within  the  British  possessions. 

It  was  not  until  after  the  Crown  assumed  the  Govern- 
ment of  India  that  any  systematic  issues  of  paper  money 

'  garrison. 

INDIA.  19 

took  place.  These  began  with  the  organisatioa  of  the 
Paper  Currency  Department,  March  1st,  1862.  The 
following  table  shows  the  issues  each  year  to  the  present 
time  in  crores  of  rupees.^ 

Year.        Issues.  Year.        Issues.  Year.        Issues.  Year.        Issues. 

1863  .     4-52         1871  .  lOSo         1879  .  1269         1887  .  1420 

1864  . 


1872  . 

,  10-87 

1880  . 

,  13-80 

1888  . 

,  16-16 

1865  . 


1873  . 

,  12-88 

1881  . 

,  14-33 

1889  . 

,  16-43 

1866  . 


1874  , 

,  10  91 

1882  . 

,  13-90 


.  16-15 

1867  . 

,  9-96 

1875  , 

.  11-08 


.  14-50 


.  22-89 

1868  . 


1876  , 

.  11-22 

1884  . 

,  13-39 

1892  , 

.  25-44 

1869  .  10-30        1877  .  11-97        1885  .  14-54        1893  .  27-10 

1870  .  11.31         1878  .  15-05         1886  .  14-71         1894  .     — 

In  a  former  work,  after  noticing  the  extravagant 
estimates  that  had  been  made  by  recent  writers  concern- 
ing the  volume  of  metallic  money  circulating  in  India,  I 
reached  the  conclusion  that  it  was  very  much  smaller 
than  is  commonly  supposed.  Mr.  James  Prinsep  esti- 
mated the  Indian  coinages  from  the  beginning  of  British 
rule  down  to  1835  at  77  crores  British  and  33  crores 
native  currency.  Writing  in  1892,  Mr.  Harrison  regarded 
this  estimate  as  excessive,  believing  that  the  net  coinages 
could  hardly  have  exceeded  the  sum  attributed  by  Prinsep 
to  British  money  alone.  Mr.  Harrison's  estimate  down 
to  1835  is  75  crores,  of  which  about  one-half  was  either 
melted  down  in  the  arts,  hoarded,  or  exported,  leaving 
38  crores  in  circulation  as  follows  : — Lower  Bengal,  7  ; 
Upper  Bengal,  6h  ;  Madras,  5  ;  Hyderabad,  2^  ;  Punjaub, 
2  ;  elsewhere,  15 — total  38  crores.  He  goes  on  to  show 
that  from  1835  to  1891  the  net  coinages  were  over  300 
crores,  of  which  77  were  retained  in  the  circulation  and 
over  223  crores  lost  in  the  arts,  hoarded,  or  exported.  If 
to  Mr.  Harrison's  38,  plus  77,  crores  of  metallic  money 
be  added  30  crores  for  the  paper  circulation  of  1895,  Ms 
estimate  will  amount  to  145  crores  for  the  total  money  of 
all  India.      As  to  the  circulation  of  native  coins  and  bills 

^  Conf.  3Ion.  Internationale,  1881,  p.  205,  and  English  bhie-book§. 


of  exchange  (liundees),  this  would  be  to  a  great  extent 
counterbalanced  by  the  coin  and  bullion  "  reserve " 
■withheld  from  circulation  by  the  Currency  Department. 

The  large  proportion  of  the  Indian  coinage  which  is  be- 
lieved to  have  been  melted  down  and  absorbed  in  the  arts, 
hoarded,  or  exported  merits  profound  attention.  From 
1766  to  1835,  a  period  of  sixty-nine  years,  this  is  estimated 
at  an  average  of  one-half  of  all  the  metal  (except  re- 
coinages)  received  at  the  mints.  From  1835  to  1891,  a 
period  of  fifty-seven  years,  it  is  estimated  at  three-fourths 
of  all,  or  223  out  of  300  crores.  The  systematic. destruc- 
tion of  from  one-half  to  three-fourths  of  the  Indian 
Measure  of  Value  is  a  circumstance  that,  absorbed  in  the 
petty  conceit  of  "  unifying "  moneys  and  measures, 
appears  to  have  Avholly  escaped  the  observation  of  Indian 
statesmen ;  yet  it  is  of  far  greater  importance  than  any 
other  circumstance  connected  with  money.  The  follow- 
ing table  shows  the  total  supplies  of  the  precious  metals 
in  the  AVestern  world,  and  the  portions  respectively  re- 
tained for  money  and  consumed  in  the  arts,  hoarded, 
lost,  or  exported  to  Asia  since  the  discovery  of  America. 
(Continued  from  the  author's  "  History  of  the  Precious 
Metals,"  p.  185)  : 

Total  product  of  gold  and  silver  in  the  Western  world  (including 
£103,000,000  obtained  from  Japan  in  the  seventeenth  century  by 
the  Portuguese  and  Dutch) ;  the  total  stock  of  gold  and  silver  coins 
in  the  Western  world  ;  the  total  consumption  in  the  arts,  etc.,  and 
the  proportion  per  cent,  of  the  consumption  to  the  product. 

Sums  ix  Millions  of  Pounds  Steeling. 

Per  cent,  of  con- 
D^jg         Cumulative  supplies        Gold  and  silver        Cumulative  cou-      sumption  to  sup- 
to  date.  stock  at  date.        sumption  to  date,      plies    since    last 


1675  509  250  259  50 

1700  592  297  295  50 

1776  1054  275  779  74 

1808  1314  380  935  71 

1828  1441  313  1128  78 

1838  1510  270  1240  82 

INDIA.  21 


Cumulative  supplies 
to  date. 

Gold  and  silver 
stock  at  date. 

Cumulative  con- 
sumption to  date. 

Per  cent,  of  con- 
sumption to  sup- 
plies   since    last 




































From  this  table  it  will  be  seen  that  about  three- 
fourths  of  the  total  supplies  have  gone  into  the  arts,  or 
have  been  hoarded  or  lost,  or  exported  to  Asia.  As  to 
the  latter  we  have  already  seen  that  three-fourths  of 
these  have  also  been  absorbed  by  the  arts,  hoarded,  or 
exported.  It  may  be  added  that  such  exportation  was  for 
the  most  part  to  China,  Japan,  and  other  Asiatic  States. 

As  to  the  supplies  which  are  likely  to  be  derived  from 
Indian  hoards,  upon  which  so  much  reliance  is  placed  by 
some  writers  on  money,  the  evidence  submitted  on  this 
subject  to  the  Indian  Currency  Commission  of  1892 
settles  the  matter  beyond  further  dispute.  This  evidence 
was  derived  from  thirt}^  years^  records  of  the  Bombay 
and  Madras  Mints,  which  show  the  native  coins  and 
ornaments,  separated  from  other  bullion,  deposited  at 
the  mints  for  coinage.  The  average  annual  deposits  of 
ornaments  in  the  Bombay  Mint  were  valued  at  about  27 
laks  of  rupees.  During  the  famine  years,  1877 — 80,. 
they  rose  to  148  laks  a  year;  in  good  years  they  sink 
to  almost  nothing.  The  statistics  of  the  Madras  Mint 
are  to  the  same  effect ;  the  recovery  of  the  precious 
metals  from  hoards  in  India  does  not  exceed  the  pro- 
portion that  it  assumes  in  other  and  far  richer  States  ; 
and  this  proportion  is  too  small  to  be  relied  upon  as  a 
source  of  replenishment  for  the  currency.^ 

'  In  the  House  of  Lords,  August  7th,  1893,  the  Lord  Chancellor  said 
that  the  evidence  which  was  given  before  the  Committee  on  the  cur. 
rency  question  conclusively  proved  that  there  were  no  such  hoards  of 


Witli  regai'd  to  the  ratio  of  value  between  silver  and 
gold  in  India,  it  appears  likely,  from  passages  in  Aga- 
tharchides,  Strabo,  and  other  authors,  that  in  very  remote 
times  these  metals  bore  the  same  value,  and  were 
mingled  in  the  coins  of  India,  as  they  were  down  to  a 
comparatively  recent  period  in  Japan ;  that  during  the 
Vedic  epoch  gold  was  valued  at  four  times  that  of  the 
same  weight  of  silver  ;  that  during  the  Braminical  epoch 
the  ratio  was  5  silver  for  1  gold ;  and  during  the  Budhic 
epoch  6  for  1.  But  these  are  inferences  Avhich  as  yet  rest 
upon  slight  foundations,  and,  therefore,  which  must  only  be 
held  tentatively  until  more  certain  light  can  be  thrown 
on  the  subject.  With  more  assurance  it  may  be  believed 
that  from  the  time  of  Darius  Hystaspes  to  the  twelfth 
century  of  our  era,  the  Eastern  ratio  centi-ed  at  about 
6|  for  1.  From  this  period  to  the  discovery  of  America 
there  appears  to  have  been  effected  a  slight  but  unsteady 
rise  in  the  relative  value  of  gold.  At  the  period  of  the 
discovery  the  ratio  in  India  was  about  7  for  1.  In  the 
course  of  two  centuT-ies  it  was  raised  to  about  10  for  1, 
and  so  remained  until  the  East  India  Company  began  to 
coin,  when  it  was  suddenly  enhanced  to  about  16^  for  1, 
lowered  to  14  (in  1821),  and  fixed  at  15  for  1  in  1835, 
where  it  remained  until  the  Western  silver  demonetisation 
of  1871-73.  The  details  may  be  consulted  in  chapter  xx. 
Since  the  beginning  of  the  present  century  the  Indian 
ratio  has  been  made  little  more  than  a  reflex  of  the 
European  ratio.  The  ancient  oriental  value  of  silver  is 
gone,  and  whatever  it  may  be  in  future  will  depend,  not 
at  all  upon  its  superior  value  as  compared  with  Western 
ratios  in  the  past,  but  upon  what  the  Western  nations 
may  determine.      The  Empire  of  the  East  is  ended. 

silver  in  India,  as  the  Earl  of  Northbrook  and  others  seemed  to  imagine. 
In  times  of  emergency,  no  doubt,  a  large  quantity  of  silver  ornaments 
were  pledged ;  but  it  was  equally  certain  that  trade  in  silver  ornaments 
had  greatly  depreciated  of  late  years. 



The  gold  daric  of  Cvrus  and  Darius — Imitated  in  the  Greek,  Roman, 
and  Sassanian  coinages — The  £  s.  d.  system  also  originated  in  Pei-sia, 
and  was  copied  bj  Eome — Coinage  in  Persia  a  sacerdotal  prerogative — 
Etymology  of  the  daric  probably  astrological- — The  siccal,  or  shekel — 
The  money  talent — Allied  to  the  tael  and  the  silver  thaler  or  dollar^ 
Confusion  of  the  money  and  weight  talent  by  modern  writers — Mone- 
tary systems  of  Cyrus  and  Darius — Gold  coins  only  struck  by  independent 
princes — The  Pereian  ratio  of  value  between  the  precious  metals. 

Ij^EOM  the  period  of  its  foundatiou  under  Cyrus, 
-*-  B.C.  533,  to  its  destruction  under  Darius  III., 
B.C.  331,  the  Persian  (and  Median)  empire  was  almost 
cuntinuouslv  at  war  with  the  Greeks.  That  this  was  not 
a  mere  empty  contest  for  supremacy  is  evident  from  the 
events  that  marked  its  close.  These  prove  that  the 
struggle,  though  it  was  greatly  stimulated  by  religious 
hatred,  had  for  its  object  the  possession  of  the  land-route 
to  the  Orient,  for  it  ended  when  that  route  was  secured 
by  Alexander.  This  ujonarch  not  only  placed  it  under 
Greek  control,  but  also  added  to  it  the  sea-route,  with  its 
great  emporium  at  Alexandria. 

The  empire  of  Alexander  and  his  successors  of  the 
Seleucidan  line,  in  Persia,  lasted  until  B.C.  250,  when 
that  country  was  wrested  from  the  Seleucidge  by  the 
Parthian  Arsacida?,  whom  Strabo  and  Justin  regard  as  a 
Scythian  dynasty,  but  who  Arrian  and  the  archajological 
remains  indicate  came  of  a  mongrel  race  partly  of  Greek 
descent.  By  these  kings  was  Persia  governed  until 
A.D.    226,   when    the    successful     revolt    ot    Ardeshir,    or 


Artasliatr  Babekan  (Artaxerxes)  grandson  of  Sassan,- 
terminated  the  Parthian  dominion,  and  restored  the 
Persian  government  and  the  Magio-Zoroastrian  religion 
of  Cj'rus  and  Darius.  It  is  true  that  the  Parthians  were 
also  Zoroastrians,  but  their  religion,  originally  little  more 
than  piu'e  deism,  had  become  so  greatly  corrupted  by 
Greek  polytheism  that  it  resembled  its  prototype  even 
less  than  the  Magian  corruption  of  the  Sassanians. 

As  shown  in  the  story  of  Zoroaster^,  Ardeshir^s  assump- 
tion of  the  sacred  title  Malkan-Malka,  or  Shah-in-Shah 
(king  of  kings),  was  in  ill-keeping  with  his  pretence 
of  desiring  to  restore  and  purify  Zoroastrism,  because 
the  lattei",  in  its  purity,  acknowledged  no  king  of  kings 
other  than  the  Creator  of  the  Universe.  Beginning  with 
such  lofty  pretences  and  backed  by  an  army  whose  cavalry 
alone  numbered  170,000,  it  occasions  no  surprise  that 
Ardeshir  should  nest  have  had  the  temerity  to  make  war 
upon  all-powerful  Eome.  However,  the  contest  (reign  of 
Alexander  Severus)  ended  without  decisive  results  on 
either  side. 

In  relation  to  the  coins  of  the  Sassanian  dynasty  Noel 
Humphreys,  the  numismatist,  and  George  Rawlinson,  the 
historian,  both  commit  the  mistake  of  supposing  that  the 
weight  of  the  gold  coins  followed  that  of  the  Roman 
aureus,  whereas,  in  fact,  both  of  them  followed  the  daric 
of  Cyrus.  This  coin  contained  136  English  grains  stan- 
dard or  129"275  grains  fine,  which  is  also  the  weight  of 
the  Sassanian  coins.  The  Roman  aureus  of  Julius 
Caesar  contained  131;!^  grains.  The  obverse  of  the  coins 
of  Ardeshir  bears  his  portrait  and  the  legend  "  By  the 
Grace  of  God  (Mazdiesn),  Ardeshir,  King  of  the  Kings 
(Malkan  Malka)  of  Persia  (Airan)."  The  reverse  has  the 
flaming  altar  of  the  fire  worshippers  and  the  legend 
"  Artashatr,  les-dai,''  or  the  Incarnation  of  God.  Some 
have  "  Divine  (Bagi)  Artashatr,  King  of  Kings,  or  God- 
descended  (les-dan)."  His  successor,  Sapor  I.,  a.i>. 
*  "  Storj  of  the  Gods,"  chapter  on  Zoroaster. 


240-73  (in  the  early  part  of  whose  reign  Armenia  was 
lost  to  the  Roman  Empire),  styled  himself  "  Celestial 
germ  of  the  gods.'^  It  was  this  heavenly  germ  who 
playfully  caused  Manes,  the  apostle  of  Manichaeism,  to 
be  flayed  alive  and  his  skin  stuffed  with  straw  and 
exposed  at  the  gate  of  the  capital,  Avhere  Epiphanius 
says  he  saw  it  himself.  It  is  very  likely  that  the 
Eoman  emperor  Valerianus,  who  fell  into  his  hands, 
shared  a  like  fate. 

Down  to  the  reign  of  Hormisdas  II.,  a.d.  302—9,  the 
emblems  and  legends  of  the  Sassauian  coins  showed 
little  variation ;  after  that  they  assumed  an  Indian 
type,  with  emblems  of  Siva  and  his  Bull,  etc.  Sapor  II., 
A.D.  309-79,  added  to  his  impious  titles  that  of  Almighty 
(Toham),  which  is  the  same  as  Nissus,  one  of  the  names 
of  Budha,  The  line  of  Sassanian  incarnations  ended 
with  les-digerd  III.,  a  youth  whose  celestial  extraction 
failed  to  protect  him  from  the  sharp  edge  of  a  Moslem 
sword,  beneath  which  he  ingloriously  expired,  a.d.  651. 
/  Briefly  speaking,  the  monetary  system  of  Persia  under 
its  native  rulers  was  almost  identical  with  that  of  England 
at  the  present  day.  Twelve  copper  coins  went  to  the 
silver  shekel  of  about  84  grains  fine,  and  20  shekels 
to  the  gold  dai'ic,  making  a  ratio  between  the  metals  of 
13  for  1.  The  gold  coinage  was  monopolised  by  the 
Shah-in-Shah,  or  sovereign-pontiff,  and  the  tributes 
were  payable  in  silver  at  the  weight-ratio  of  13 ;  the 
Tatio  in  India  at  the  same  time  being  6^  for  1.  Rawlin- 
son's  views  on  this  subject,  and  those  of  the  authors  from 
whom  he  quotes  at  tedious  length,  are  entirely  at  variance 
with  the  facts.  Queipo,  Mommsen  and  the  numismatists 
generally  are  much  more  reliable  authorities. 

The  average  contents  of  the  33  gold  darics  of  early 
Pei'sia  in  the  cabinets  of  Europe,  Aveighed  by  Queipo,  was 
8*342  metrical  grammes,  and,  as  corrected  for  loss  of  weight 
by  attrition,  8'376  grammes,  or  129-275  English  grains. 
This  is  somewhat  heavier  than  a  raodei!U  English   guinea 


or  American  half-eagle.  The  average  weight  of  142 
Persian  silver  siccals,  shekels,  or  darics  was  5*444  grammes, 
or  83"96  grains.  The  name  daric,  as  applied  to  the  prin- 
cipal gold  and  silver  coins  of  this  period  is  probably  due 
to  the  effigy  of  a  kneeling  archer,  which  is  stamped  upon, 
them,  Danaus  being  the  Indian  name  for  that  Sign  of  the 
Zodiac.  Madden,  however,  thinks  it  comes  from  dari,  or 
daru,  the  king.  The  name  siccal,  or  shekel,  is  men-' 
tioned  by  Xenophon  and  Hesychius,  the  former  of  whom 
said  the  Persian  shekel  weighed  7|,  and  the  latter  8  Euboie 
or  Attic  oboles.  This  obole  weighed  0*71  grammes,  or- 
10958  grains.  Hence,  the  Persian  shekel  should  weigh 
fi'om  74  to  8  times  as  much,  or  82"185  to  87*664  grains — 
a  literary  conclusion  perfectly  sustained  by  the  weight  of 
the  extant  coins.  As,  according  to  Herodotus,  the  Persian 
ratio  of  value  between  silver  and  gold  was  as  13  is  to  1,  it 
follows  that  in  the  Persian  system  20  silver  shekels  or 
darics  went  to  one  gold  daric,  the  weights  of  the  two- 
being  dissimilar.^ 

— 5 
■'    That    the    early    Persians   also    used    bronze    coins    is 

implied  from  their  specific  mention  in  1  Chronicles  xxix,  7,. 
their  common  use  in  the  Orient  and  the  States  contiguous 
to  Persia,  and  the  facts  brought  together  by  Queipo- 
(i,  100).  What  relation  of  value  such  bronze  coins  bore- 
to  the  silver  ones  has  not  been  determined  positively,"  but. 
should  it  turn  out  (from  the  analogy  of  this  Persian 
ecclesiastical  to  the  other  ecclesiastical  systems  of  money 
which  followed  it  in  Egypt,   Greece,  and  Rome)  that  such 

'  Queipo,  ii,  304. 

^  A  celebrated  German  anViquarian  ("  Fortnightly  Review,"  March,. 
1889)  declares  that  the  Babylonians  used  copper  coins,  of  -which  60  went, 
to  what  he  confusedly  terms  the  "  drachma  or  half-shekel."  The  drachma, 
contained  about  85  grains  of  fine  silver,  the  shekel  (of  Babylon)  about 
83  grains,  the  half-shekel  about  40  grains,  and  the  five-shekel  piece^^^ 
tliat  which  the  writer  probably  alludes  to  as  the  drachma,  or  half-shekel 
— about  415  grains  fine.  If  his  surmise  be  well  foundefl.  then  there  were- 
12  copper  coins  to  the  shekel-,  and  20shekels  to  the  gold  daric — very  much 
the :5ame  system  as  at  present,  ,;  iMid]   -yji  rvid  ]■  ■'<■'<■' 

.•  •    ^  ANCIENT    PERSIAN  MONEYS.  27 

relation  was  duodecimal,  we  shall  be  able  to  trace  the 
well-known  arithmetical  proportions  of  £  s.  d.  to  at  least 
the  sixth  century  before  our  era. 

As  with  many  other  metrological  denominations,  the 
talent  w^as  a  coin  or  sum  of  money,  as  well  as  a  weight. 
In  the  former  sense  it  has  been  employed  continuously 
from  the  most  ancient  historical  pei'iod  to  the  present 
time.  Both  Gronovius^  and  Boeckh  have  shown,  from 
ancient  Greek  texts,  that  "  a  weight  of  six  drachmas 
(400  grains)  of  gold  was  called  talent. ^^ "  To  illustrate  this 
statement  Boeckh  goes  on  to  show  that  (at  one  period)  thi'ee 
Attic  gold  staters  made  a  talent.  As  a  general  thing, 
however,  the  gold  talent  consisted  of  a  sum  of  five  gold 
coins  of  the  denomination  and  weight  of  those  most 
commonly  used,  and  a  silver  talent  of  a  sum  of  silver 
coins  equal  in  legal  value  to  five  such  gold  coins.  When 
the  ratio  was  changed,  the  number  of  such  gold  coins  as 
equalled  the  silver  talent  in  legal  value  was  changed  with 
it,  and  this  may  account  for  Boeckh's  valuation  of  three 

The  Greeks,  Sicilians,  and  Romans  all  used  a  gold 
talent.^  In  the  Roman  Civil  Code  of  the  fifth  century  a 
certain  sum  of  money  is  called  a  libra,  and  defined  as 
consisting  of  five  solidi.  This  was  possibly  also  a  talent. 
In  the  thirteenth  century  the  talent  was  one  of  the  names 
given  to  the  golden  denarius,  or  maravedi,  of  40  to  4S^ 
grains  fine,  which  was  struck  by  Henry  III.  in  1257,  and 
valued  at  5  gi-oats  or  20  sterlings.  Dui'ing  the  last 
century  talleros,  tallaros,  or  talleries  was  a  name  given  to. 
the  5-livre  pieces,  or  silver  dollars.*  This  tallero  was 
used  both  in  Egypt  and  Florence,  for  the  oriental  trade, 
so  late  as  the  early  part  of  the  present  century,  and  had 
approximately  the  same  weight  and  valuation  as  in  France.^' 

1  De  Pec.  Vet.,  iii,  7.  '  [ 

2  Polit.  Eco^.  Athen.,  40. 
^  Appleton,  Cyc,  xv,  275. 

*  Neckar's  "Finances  of  France,"  London  ed.,  1785,  iii,  74. 

*  Kelly's  "  Cambist,"  i,  57,  130. 


The  tael  is  still  used  in  China  and  Japan,  and  it  may  be 
the  origin  of  talent,  thaler,  and  dollar.  From  these  and 
other  analogues  and  other  circumstances,  it  appears  that 
the  Persian  talent  of  money  consisted  of  five  darics, 
together  containing,  at  the  period  of  Cyrus  or  Darius, 
646|  grains,  or  about  1^  troy  ounces  of  gold.  The 
Chinese  tael  of  the  present  day  weighs  about  1^  ounces 

The  weight  talent  greatly  varied.  Originating  in  the 
Orient,  and  weighing  in  remote  times  as  much  or  more 
that  the  Chinese  picul  (133^  lbs.  avoirdupois),  it  after- 
wards fell  to  a  hundredweight  (the  kikkah  of  the  Bible 
and  quintal  of  modern  times).  The  talent  of  Cj'rus 
probably  weighed  something  less  than  the  picul 
and  more  than  the  kikkah.  Queipo  (i,  106),  following 
English  metrologists,  gives  the  Hebrew  kikkah  the  weight 
of  93|  lbs.,  avoirdupois.  The  Continental  metrologists 
give  lower  equivalents.  As  to  later  ancient  talents,  for 
example  the  Euboic  and  Attic,  they  were  lighter.  The 
mean  of  various  equivalents  of  the  Attic  talent  is  only 
about  half  an  hundredweight. 

Through  the  blunder  of  mistaking  the  sum  talent  for 
the  weight  talent,  some  Biblical  commentators  have 
greatly  exaggerated  the  sums  mentioned  in  the  Scriptures. 
Similar  blunders  have  been  committed  by  the  classical 
commentators.  The  inhabitants  of  Chersonesus  honoured 
the  Athenian  council  and  people  with  a  golden  garland 
"worth  sixty  talents,  which  the  metrologists  have  decided 
to  mean  1|  tons  !  Whereas,  according  to  an  authentic 
inscription  of  the  period,  a  gold  garland  presented  to 
the  Delian  Apollo  at  the  great  quadrennial  festival  cost 
only  1,500  silver  drachmas,  or  about  1,000  sterling  shil- 
lings, say  £50 ;  and  must  therefore  have  been  quite 

'  Boeclch,  42. 


Ancient  Persian  monetary  system,  assiimed  to  have  been  established  by 
Cyrus,  B.C.  533,  and  which,  except  jperhai^s  as  to  the  conjectural 
bronze  coins,  was  certainly  in  use  under  Darius  Hystaspes.     Ratio 
of  silver  to  gold  13  to  1. 

Eng.  grains. 
1  silver  gera  of  account,  equal  to      .         .         .         .         4"190 

12  {?)  bronze  coins,  or  20  geras  of  account  ^  1  silver 

shekel,  containing        ......       83'960 

20  shekels  =  1  gold  daric,  containing         .         .         .     129'275 
5  darics  =  1  talent  of  money   .....     646375 

When  the  talent  of  money  was  of  silver,  it  contained  thirteen  times  as 
much,  or  about  I5  pounds  Troy  weight. 

As  with  the  Indians  and  other  nations  of  an  earlier, 
and  the  Romans  of  a  later,  date,  the  Princes  of  Persia 
only  struck  gold  coins  when  they  were  independent. 
Thus,  there  are  gold  coins  of  Artaxerxes  I.,  a.d.  226—40, 
Sapor  I.,  240—71,  Hormisdas  I.,  271—3,  Vararenes  I., 
273-6,  Hormisdas  II.  and  Sapor  II.,  309-79 ;  ^  but 
after  the  reign  of  Sapor  III.  (383-88)  the  kings  of  Persia 
ceased  to  strike  gold — an  infallible  sign  that  they  had 
become  vassals  of  some  other  power.^  This  power  was 
indicated,  at  the  time,  by  Procopius,  the  secretary  to 
Justinian  I.,  527—65.  ''  The  king  of  Persia  is  free  to 
coin  silver  as  much  as  he  likes,  but  neither  he,  nor  any 
other  barbarian  king,  has  the  right  (6£/^<c  =  Themis)  to 
place  his  stamp  or  effigy  on  a  piece  of  gold,  no  matter 
how  much  gold  metal  he  may  possess ;  nor  would  such 
coins  circulate  among  traders,  nor  even  among  the 
barbarians  themselves.'^  ^  However,  this  position  of  affairs 
remained  unchanged  only  a  few  years  longer,  until  in  the 
reign  of  Chosros  I.  (531—79) ,  it  was  ended  by  the  famous 
treaty  betvs^een  Justinian  and  Chosros,  a.d.  533,  called 
the  "  Perpetual  Peace,"  which  recognised  the  indepen- 
dence of  Persia.  This  event  was  marked  by  the  issuance 
of  gold  coins  stamped  with  the  long-forbidden  effigy  of 
the  Persian  King.* 

1  Mordtmann,  "  Zeitschrift  d.  deutsch.  Morgenl.  Gesellschaft,"  viii,  146. 

3  Lenormant,  ii,  426.  3  Bell.  Goth.,  iii,  33. 

*  Longperier,  "  Medailles  des  rois  parses  de  la  Dynastie  Sassauide," 
pi.  X,  No.  4 ;  Mordtmann,  viii,  92,  No.  288. 



Baug  moneys  of  the  Getse — CaseE  used  both  for  silver  money  and 
metal — Vai'ious  kinds  of  shekels — Indian  origin  of  the  term — Dinara — 
Daric,  or  Darkon — Gera — Hebrew  monetary  system  in  the  time  of  Ezra 
— Iron  coins — Coinages  of  the  Asmoneans — Silver  and  copper  shekels — 
Extant  specimens. 

"]\ /TADDENj  in  liis  excellent  work  on  Hebrew  moneys, 
-^-^  is  of  the  opinion  that  in  many  instances  the 
references  to  money  in  the  Hebrew  Bible  are  to  annular, 
or  ring  money,  or  bangs.  These  forms  of  money  were 
used  by  all  the  Getse  or  Goths,  and  may  have  been  in- 
troduced by  them  into  Asia  Minor  during  their  invasion 
of  the  seventh  century  B.C.  The  svastica,  a  Getic  symbol 
of  Budhic  origin,  has  been  found  in  the  archaeological 
remains  of  the  Troad,  and  is  mentioned  in  various  works 
and  essays  on  the  subject.-* 

In  accounts  of  the  Hebrew  monetary  systems,  not  only 
have  moneys  been  mistaken  for  weights,  but  casef,  mean- 
ing generally  cash,  or  money,  has  been  translated  literally 
as  silver  metal.  In  the  Roman  and  Romance  dialects 
the  same  word  that  means  silver  means  also  money  in 
a  general  sense,  as  argentum,  argento,  argent,  plata, 
plato,  piatta,  etc.  When  the  Gotlis  accepted  Roman  rule 
they  substituted  their  sil,  or  sild,  for  argentum,  whence 
we  now  have  silfer,  silber,  siller,  silver,  etc.  So  in  the 
ancient  Tamil,  Todu,  Sanscrit,  Cingalese,  Persian,  As- 
syrian, and  Hebrew  languages  the  same  word  stood  for 
both  silver  and  money  :  as  casu,  cas,  karsha,  cashaba  or 
cashbekes,  casba,  and  casef.  The  custom  arose,  no  doubt, 
from  the  fact  that  at  certain  epochs  silver  coins  were  the 
principal  money   of  the    states    mentioned.      It   is   quite 

>  Count  D'Alviella,  on  "  Symbols ; "  London  "  Times,"  Oct.  30th,  1894. 


evident  that  where  Abraham  paid  "  four  hundred  shekels 
of  silver    (casef)   current   money  with  the  merchant/'  he 
paid    coins   and    not    bullion.      "  Shekels "    were    coins, 
*'  casef  "  was  money  ;  the   italicised   word    moneij   of  the 
English  version  does    not   occur   in  the  original,  because 
it  is  not  necessary,  casef  being  sufficient ;    "  current  with 
the  merchant  "  is    conclusive,  for  bullion   cannot  be   cur- 
rent  (Gen.    xxiii).      As    to  weighing  the   coins,  all   coins 
wei'e  weighed   before  the   mechanism  of   coinage   became 
sufficiently   pei'fect   to   detect   wear,  and    to    (practically) 
discourage    clipping.       That    diverse   coins    circulated  in 
Judea   at    this   period    is    evident  from     the    distinction 
made  in   the  Levitical  law  between  '^shekels  of  the  sanc- 
tuary,''  "shekels  of  the  king's  weight,"  and  others.     The 
former  must  either  have  been  gold  shekels,  or  silver  ones 
heavier  than  ordinary.      The   ingenious  but  unsound  ex- 
planation that  such  shekels  meant  standard  weights,  and 
that    shekel    is    derived  from    kesitah,  the  Hebrew   word 
for  a  lamb,  is    met  by    the   fact   of  its   previous   use   for 
money    in    the    Orient.      Sicca    is    the    Hindu  word  for 
knife,   and  by  metonym,  a  mint   where    knife-coins   were 
struck,  or  where  coins  were  cut  or  finished  with  a  shears, 
also  coins  or  struck  money.      Hence    the  various   deriva- 
tives, siccal,  sycee,  shekel,  saiga,  zikkah,  sequin,  etc.,  which 
flowed  to  Persia,  China,  Judea,  Arabia,  Gotland,  Venice,  etc., 
when  commercial  intercourse   placed    those    countries  in 
communication  with   India.      In  a  similar  way  the   word 
dinara,    a   sum    of  money  mentioned   in    the   Rig-  Veda, 
which   Prof.    Miiller  declares   to  be    the   oldest   scripture 
extant,  has   come    through  Rome    and   Arabia   to   find  a 
permanent  resting-place  in  the  third  term  of  the  modern 
English  &  s.  d. 

Not   only  in    the   passage    quoted,   but    also    in    Lev. 
xxvii,   25 ;   2  Sam.   xiv,   26 ;  ^   Ezek.   xlv,    12,    and   other 

'  In  2  Sam.  xiv, '26,  the  weight  of  Absalom's  hair  is  given  at  "200 
shekels  after  the  king's  weight."  If,  with  the  biblical  commentators,  we 
reckon  the  shekel  as  a  weight  of  about  half  an  ounce  Troy,  then  Absa- 
lom's hair  weighed  over  eight  pounds,  which  is  incredible ;  the  usual 


places,  the  wori  shekel  is  quite  plainly  used  for  money  ^ 
generally  ;  whilst  in  Gen.  xxiv,  22  ;  Numbers  vii,  13, 
and  other  places  it  may  mean  a  weight.  In  2  Kings 
xii,  9,  money  is  explicitly  mentioned.  The  darics  men- 
tioned in  1  Chron.  xxix,  7  ;  Ezra  ii,  69 ;  viii,  27,  and 
Neh.  viij  70  to  72,  as  "  adarkonim  "  stand  in  the  Englisli 
version  as  "  drams  " — a  palpable  corruption.  These  coins 
are  mentioned  by  Heiodotus  (Mel.  166)  in  relation  to 
Aryandes,  who  was  Prefect  of  Egypt  under  both  Camb- 
ysses  and  Darius.  The  origin  of  the  term  has  been 
already  alluded  to.  As  previous  to  the  Persian  epoch, 
there  was  a  dharana  gold  weight,  and  probably  also  a 
dharana  gold  coin  in  India,  it  may  have  come,  as  most 
other  monetary  terms  came,  from  India.  An  analogue 
is  offered  in  the  name  of  the  month  Adar. 

The  Hebrew  Bible  mentions  various  moneys,  as  the 
gera  (of  which,  as  in  Persia,  20  went  to  the  shekel),  the 
silver  shekel,  the  gold  shekel,  the  gold  daric,  and  the 
talent.  From  these  materials,  aided  by  the  weights 
of  the  extant  darics,  the  denominational  ratios  of  the 
Persian  system,  and  the  metallic  ratio  mentioned  by 
Herodotus  and  corroborated  by  the  Khorsabad  Mint 
standards  weighed  by  Oppert,  we  are  enabled  to  con- 
struct the  following  table  of  Hebrew  money  at  the  time 
of  Ezra,  which  was  the  middle  of  the  fifth  century  B.C. 

Eng.  grains. 
12  (?)  bronze  or  iron  coins  (1  Chron.  xxix),  7=1  silver  gera         4*190 
10  geras  =  1  bekah  (Exod.  xxxviii,  26),  containing  .         .       41'980 
20  geras  =  1  shekel  (Exod.  xxx,  13,  15  ;  Lev.  xxvii,  3,  25  ; 
Ezek.  xlv,  12  ;  Isaiah  vii,  23,  translated  "  silverings") 

containing 83"960 

20  shekels  =  1  gold  daric,  or  gold  shekel,  containing         .     129*275 

5  darics  =  1  talent,  containing 646*375 

A  talent  of  silver  money  contained  thirteen  times  as  much  in  weight 
as  a  gold  talent. 

weight  of  a  man's  hair  not  exceeding  a  few  ounces,  and  of  a  woman's 
rarely  amounting  to  a  pound.  If,  with  the  present  text,  we  reckon  the 
skekel  as  a  coin,  weighing  about  one-sixth  of  an  ounce,  then  Absalom's 
liair  weighed  nearly  three  pounds— of  itself  sufficiently  marvellous. 


These  various  moneys,  except  perhaps  the  bronze  and 
iron  coins,  -were  of  the  mintage,  not  of  the  kings  of  Judea, 
but  of  their  suzerains,  the  sovereign-pontiffs  of  Persia. 
Indeed,  the  Jews  struck  no  silver  or  gold  coins,  and  per- 
haps no  coins  at  all  until  the  period  of  the  Asmoneans, 
who  struck  silver  coins  under  the  authority  of  their  suze- 
rain, Antiocbus  IV,  B.C.  176-64.  About  a  quarter  of  a 
century  later,  when  the  Hebrews  broke  into  revolt  (years 
173  to  170  of  the  Seleucidan  era),  Simon  Maccabee  struck 
various  silver  coins  (1  Mace,  xvi,  6  ;  and  xlv,  32).  Many 
of  these,  together  with  some  later  ones  (sixty  in  all)  were 
weighed  or  cited  by  Queipo,  who  believed  that  they  were 
issued  under  five  different  systems  of  weights,  to  wit,  the 
Greco-Asiatic,  Ptolemaic,  Olympic,  Bosporic,  and  Attic. 
In  this  respect,  however,  he  may  have  been  mistaken. 
Their  weights  he  arranged  under  eight  classes,  as  follows  : 


Eng.  grains. 


Eng.  grains, 

















These  coins  are  not  stamped  with  their  denominations 
or  value ;  and  although  Queipo  remarked  the  absence  of 
any  homology  between  their  weights  and  that  of  the 
weight  shekel,  yet  he  followed  the  older  metrologists  by 
assuming  that  the  coin  shekel  must  weigh  a  weight 
shekel,  and  by  selecting  for  shekels  from  the  coins  before 
him  those  which  approached  nearest  to  the  shekel  in 
weight,  and  regarding  the  others  as  fractions  or  multiples 
thereof.  Hence  he  selected  Class  IV,  which  weigh  nearly 
half  an  ounce  troy  each.  As  well  regard  the  English 
sovereign  as  only  the  fiftieth  of  a  pound  of  money  because 
it  takes  fifty  of  them  to  equal  a  troy  pound  weight !  The 
selection  of  the  half-ounce  silver  coin  of  the  Maccabees 
for  a  shekel  is  objectionable,  first,  because  the  Hebrew 
shekel  evidently  originated  in  the  Persian  shekel,  which, 
in  the  time  of  Ezra,  contained  but  84  grains,  and  in  that 



of  Xenophon  very  mucli  less  ;  and,  second,  in  the  well- 
known  tendency  of  coins  to  diminish  rather  than  increase 
in  weight.  Four  centuries  had  elapsed  between  Ezra 
and  the  Asmoneans,  and  the  circumstances  of  the  latter 
were  not  such  as  to  render  them  affluent  in  silver  ;  in- 
deed, they  soon  after  struck  copper  shekels.  We  must, 
therefore,  look  for  the  silver  shekel  of  the  Maccabees 
amongst  coins  of  a  lower  weight  than  the  shekels  of  Cyrus 
or  Darius  ;  and  as  there  is  only  one  series  of  this  charac- 
ter, it  follows  that  the  silver  shekel  of  the  Jewish  revolt 
is  indicated  in  the  above  table  as  Class  I,  and  contained 
about  50  grains,  or  about  7|  to  the  modern  silver  dollar. 
Of  this  class  of  shekels  there  are  some  half-a-dozen  spe- 
cimens extant,  in  a  good  state  of  preservation,  and  un- 
questionably genuine,  the  heaviest  of  them,  containing 
50^  grains,  being  in  the  cabinet  of  Madrid. 



Earliest  moneys  of  Greece — Gold  and  silver  bangs — Leather  moneys- — 
Iron  money  of  Lycurgns — Pheidon  of  Argos — Staters  of  ^liletus — Exa- 
mination of  the  passages  in  Herodotus  and  other  writers  concerning  the 
antiquity  of  coinage  in  Greece — The  Parian  marbles — Knife-coins  found 
by  Schliemann  at  Troy— Coins  of  the  Troezenii— The  "  bulls"  of  Theseus 
— Statement  of  Sophocles — Drachmas  of  Solon — Eatio  of  10  for  1 — 
Mines  of  Laurium — Staters  of  Cyzicus — The  first  gold  coins  struck  at 
Athens  from  the  statue  of  Victory — Plato's  monetary  system — Pre- 
Solonic  scale  of  equivalents — Solonic  scale — Decadence  system — Coins 
give  rise  to  weights,  and  not  weights  to  coins — Confusion  of  the  money 
and  the  weight  talent — The  obelos,  or  handful,  and  the  obolos  weight. 

IT  is  quite  possible  that  the  earliest  moneys  used  in 
Grreece  were  those  bangs  or  rings  which  the  Scythians 
carried  alike  into  Egypt  and  Britain^  where,  as  to  one 
country,  they  are  sculptured  on  the  temple  of  Thebes,  and 
as  to  the  other  they  appear  in  Caesar's  narrative  ;  but  there 
are  no  remains  to  support  this  conjecture  as  to  Greece. 
So,  too,  of  leather  money.  The  Scythians  who  invaded 
Greece^  were  freemen,  who  in  later  times  were  fond  of 
using  leather  money — -a  money  which  disdained  both  the 

^  As  -we  ascend  beyond  the  sixth  century  B.C.  we  are  obliged  to  confess 
that  Greek  history  is  largely  fabulous.  Pinkerton,  Jamieson,  Pococke, 
and  other  authors  have  pointed  out  the  reason  of  this  ;  it  is  that  Hellas 
was  conquered  and  colonised  by  the  Scythians,  whose  paternity,  when 
their  power  was  overthrown,  the  colonists  did  not  care  to  acknowledge, 
and  instead  created  a  fictitious  paternity  of  their  own.  Hence  all  the 
heroes  of  Greece  were  gods  or  god-descended  ;  and  until  the  period  above 
indicated  we  can  be  certain  of  no  name.  For  example,  Eckhel,  in  his 
"Prolegomena,"  quotes  Julius  Pollux  to  the  effect  that  the  earliest 
money  of  Hellas  was  issued  by  Ericthonius,  king  of  Athens,  during  the 
sixteenth  century  B.C.     Eric  is  a  Scythian  name ;  Ericthonius  is  a  myth. 


stamp  of  sacerdotal  authority  to  give  it  currency  and  the 
aid  of  capital  to  supply  its  material.^  There  is  a  sug- 
gestion that  such  money  was  used  in  very  ancient  times 
in  Sparta." 

We  shall  presently  adduce  evidences  from  Homer, 
Plutarch,  and  Sophocles  which  point  to  the  use  of  coins 
in  the  Greek  states  and  colonies  both  before  and  shortly 
after  the  period  ascribed  to  the  Trojan  war.  Neverthe- 
less, according  to  the  numismatists,  the  earliest  Greek- 
made  moneys  of  which  we  have  any  literary  evidences 
are  those  attributed  to  Miletus,  Argos,  Sparta,  and.  Lydia. 
It  will  be  convenient,  before  discussing  these  moneys,  to 
allude  to  the  ratio  of  value  between  gold  and  silver  wbicli 
prevailed  in  the  Orient.  As  shown  in  another  chapter 
the  most  ancient  Braminical  ratio  of  value  between  gold 
and  silver  in  India  was  1  to  5  ;  during  the  Budhic  period 
it  was  probably  1  to  6  ;  and  in  the  sixth  century  B.C.  it 
seems  to  have  been  1  to  6^.  Judging  from  the  Egyptian 
ratio  shown  in  the  inscriptions  of  Tutmosis  at  Karnak^  and 
the  Persian  and  Greek  ratios  of  a  later  period,  the  ratio 
in  the  punched  moneys  of  Argos  and  Miletus  was  13. 
The  inscribed  plates  of  gold  and  silver  found  under  the 
palace  of  Khorsabad — which  Sargon,  king  of  Assyria,  is 
believed  to  have  erected,  B.C.  706,  i.e.,  the  plates  weighed 
by  Oppert,  give  tbe  ratio  in  Assyria  at  13,  as  follows  : — 
The  gold  plate  weighed  2577i  English  grains,  equal  to  the 
contents  of  20  gold  darics  (properly  dharanas)  of  129 
grains  each  ;  the  silver  plate  weighed  6769|-  grains,  equal 
to  the  contents  of  80  silver  shekels  of  84J  grains  each. 
This  silver  plate  evidently  represented  the  Assyrian 
money-talent.  As  we  know  (from  several  equivalents 
mentioned  in  the  oldest  Hebrew  scriptures)  that  there 
were  20  shekels  to  the  daric,  it  follows  that  the  gold  plate 

'  The  Scythians  used  leather  moneys  in  Novgorod,  Iceland,  and  China. 
^  Jevons,  "  !lIonej  and  Mechanism  of  Exchange." 
'  Brandis  gives  the  Egvjitian  ratio  at  13^,  and  assigns  it  to  the  six- 
teenth centurv  B.C. 


was  of    5  talents   and   that  the   ratio  was   13,  or  exactly 
double  the  Indian  ratio. 

This  Assyrian  mint-valuation  between  gold  and  silver 
possibly  dated  back  to  the  period  when  the  Phoenician 
traders  commanded  the  product  of  the  Iberian  silver 
mines.  It  bears  the  marks  of  a  deliberate  and  permanent 
policy,  which  was  to  buy  silver,  or,  what  is  the  same  thing, 
levy  it  in  tributes,  at  the  ratio  of  13,  and  transport  it  for 
sale  to  India,  where  it  was  coined  and  exchanged  for  gold 
at  double  this  price.  The  silver  knife-money  found  by 
Schliemann  at  Ilium  was  probably  made  in  the  West, 
possibly  in  Greece,  for  the  Indian  trade.  When,  at  a 
later  epoch,  the  Greeks  of  Asia  freed  themselves  from 
Assyrian  control  or  influences,  which  was  probably  during 
the  eighth  century,  they  fixed  their  ratio  at  10,  and  made 
efforts  to  open  commercial  intercourse  with  India  by 
establishing  factories,  as  the  Veneti  had  done  before 
them,  in  the  Crimea  and  other  parts  of  the  Euxine,  with 
the  view  of  trading  through  Scythia  and  Persia.  But 
they  were  not  successful.  They  had  trouble  with  the 
Scythians  in  the  seventh,  and  with  the  Persians  in  the 
sixth,  century,  when  their  attempts  at  overland  com- 
merce were  definitely  blocked  by  the  conquests  of  Cyrus 
and  the  Persian  adoption  of  the  old  Assyrian  mint  ratio 
of  13  to  1. 

The  ninth  century  B.C.  is  regarded  by  numismatists 
as  the  probable  era  of  the  punched  stater  of  Miletus, 
now  in  the  British  Museum,  on  which  is  stamped  the  lion 
head,  sacred  to  Cybele.  On  account  of  its  primitive  ap- 
pearance, and  also  because  of  a  loose  construction  placed 
upon  certain  allusions  to  coins  in  Herodotus  and  the 
Parian  marbles,  this  "  coin  "  has  been  regarded  by  some 
numismatists  as  the  earliest  '*  money '^  extant.  This  is  so 
far  from  being  true  that,  as  shown  in  my  histories  of  money 
in  China,  India,  Assyria,  and  Egypt,  cast  bronze  money 
and  coined  or  punched  money,  both  gold  and  silver,  were 
•employed  in  other  states  ages  before  the  ninth  century  B.C. 


Even  in  Miletus  metallic  money — whether  cast  or  clipped 
with  a  pair  of  shears  or  coined,  that  is  to  say,  struck  with 
a  cuneus  or  puuch,  is  immaterial — metallic  money,  I  say, 
must  have  been  in  use  before  the  ninth  century  B.C. ;  not 
only  because  Miletus  was  a  commercial  city,  and  could 
hardly  have  refrained,  either  from  fabricating  her  own 
money,  or  else  from  employing  the  moneys  of  Assyria, 
Egypt,  or  the  Orient,  but  also  because  Miletus  was  settled 
by  Greeks,  and  it  is  all  but  certain  that  the  European 
Grreeks  used  money  before  the  ninth  century  B.C.  For 
this  century  was  the  era  of  Lycurgus  (b.c.  881),  who  not 
only  established  a  numerical  system  of  money  in  Sparta — 
and  it  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  a  numerical  system  is 
a  refinement  of  money  which  bespeaks  a  previous  expe- 
rience in  other  moneys — he  interdicted  the  production  and 
importation  of  gold  and  silver  and  their  use  as  money. ^ 
It  is  not  contended  that  punched  money,  or  the  bevelled 
discs  so  familiar  to  us  as  "  coins  "  were  in  use  ;  on  the 
contrary,  I  am  inclined  to  the  belief  that  the  archaic 
money  of  Greece,  like  that  of  Britain,  consisted  of  gold 
and  silver  bangs,  which  were  either  hammered  on  the 
anvil,  or  cast  and  then  stamped  with  that  mark  of 
authority  which  made  them  payable  and  receivable  for 
debts  and  tributes — in  a  word,  money  similar  to  that  of 
Kuen-Aten,  the  Hucsos  king  of  Egypt,  specimens  of 
which  have  been  found  in  recent  years  at  Tel-el-Amarna. 
Following  this  were  possibly  globular  coins  like  the  staters 
of  Miletus.  That  money  of  some  sort  was  used  in  Greece 
before  the  ninth  century  B.C.  is  no  less  certain  than  that 
the  Greeks  wore  shoes  before  that  period.  The  stater  of 
Miletus  may  therefore  be  either  older  or  more  recent 
than  has  hitherto  been  supposed. 

Now,  let  us  briefly  examine  the  evidences  upon  which 

the  numismatists  have  relied  for    support   of  the  current 

theory   concerning    the    antiquity  of   certain   archaic  and 

undated    Greek  coins.      The  subject  has  much  more  than 

'  "Hist.  Monev,  Ancient,"  p.  163;  Athenaeus,  vi,  23,  24. 


a  technical  interest ;  it  is  related  to  chronology,  to  reli- 
gion, and  to  general  history. 

Herodotus  (Erato,  127)  says  that  Pheidou,  tyrant  of 
Argos, ''  introduced  measures  among  the  Peloponnesians/' 
As,  according  to  Aristotle,  who  wrote  about  a  century 
later  than  Herodotus,  "  the  function  of  money  is  to 
measui'e  value,"  and  as  the  Greek  word  for  measure  and 
for  money  is  from  the  same  root  {nomos),  it  may  be  held 
that  this  passage  concerning  Pheidon  includes  or  means 
money.  Even  though  this  be  admitted,  the  passage 
does  not  necessarily  relate  to  the  antiquity  of  money,  but 
only  to  the  period  when  money  was  introduced  among 
the  Pelopounesians,  and  this  may  have  been  some  new 
kind  of  money  and  not  money  generally  nor  originally. 

A  series  of  ancient  chronological  tables  were  discovered 
in  the  early  part  of  the  seventeenth  century  in  the  island 
of  Paros.  These  were  brought  to  England  by  the  Earl 
of  Arundel,  and  pi'esented  to  the  University  of  Oxford, 
where  they  still  remain.  They  are  variously  referred  to 
as  the  Arnndelian  Marbles,  the  Parian  Chronicles,  or  the 
Oxford  Tables.  Though  it  is  by  no  means  certain,  they 
are  believed  to  have  been  engraved  during  the  second 
centui'y  B.C.,  and  are  dated  backward  from  the  year 
when  Diognetus  was  Archon  of  Athens,  which  the 
chronologists  determine  to  have  been  in  B.C.  264  ;  though 
on  this  point  they  differ  (and  consequently  so  do  all  the 
dates  on  the  marbles)  to  the  extent  of  fourteen  or  fifteen 
years. ^  The  Arundel  marbles  relate  that  "  Pheidon  of 
Argos,  the  eleventh  after  Hercules,  invented  weights  and 
measures,  and  struck  silver  money  in  the  Isle  of  ^gina,'* 
631  years  before  the  Archonate  of  Diognetus.  This 
places  the  action  of  Pheidon  in  the  year  B.C.  895. 

It  is  to  be  observed  that  these  accounts  do  not  agree ; 
that  Herodotus  accords  much  less  credit  to  Pheidon  than 
the  mai'bles  claim,  the  former  stating  that   Pheidon  "  in- 

'  Acad.  Belles  Letties,  xxiii,  53 ;  Freret,  ibid.,  xxvi ;  Selden,  Disserta- 
■iion,  1628;  Prideaux,  Dissertation,  1676. 


troduced "  lueasures  to  the  Peloponnesians,  the  latter 
averring  that  be  "  invented  "  both  weights  and  measures 
and  sti-uck  silver  money  in  ^gina.  This  island  is 
within  sight  of  Athens,  whilst  it  is  distant  from  Argos, 
whence  it  can  only  be  reached  by  weathering  the  dan- 
gerous pi'omontory  of  Scyllaeum.  Neither  does  it  appear 
that  ^gma  was  subject  to  Argos  ;  on  the  contrary,  it 
seems  at  this  period  to  have  been  independent.  Under 
these  circumstances,  if  Pheidon  struck  silver  money  in 
the  Isle  of  ^gina,  it  was  struck  for  him  by  a  foreign 
state  and  by  people  who,  it  must  be  presumed,  had  pre- 
viously struck  similar  money  for  themselves.  This  car- 
ries the  fabrication  of  -^ginetan  silver  money  backward 
as  far,  at  least,  as  the  tenth  century  B.C. 

Elsewhere  (Clio,  94)  Herodotus  says  :  "  The  Lydians 
were  the  first  people  on  record  who  coined  gold  and  silver 
into  money  and  traded  at  retail."  This  statement — the 
first  part  of  which  is  ambiguous  and  the  last  part 
erroneous — is  the  main  reliance  of  the  numismatists.  All 
archaic  coins  are  dated  by  them  from  Gyges,  king  of 
Lydia,  the  first  of  the  Mermnadse,  B.C.  713.  It  is  as- 
sumed that  this  is  the  earliest  money  of  the  world.  The 
fact  that  we  possess  Chinese  bell-shaped  and  knife-shaped 
coins  professing  to  be  twenty  centuries  older ;  that  a 
bell-shaped  coin  of  the  Chinese  type  has  been  found  in 
the  Swiss  Lake-dwellings  ;  that  Schliemann  found  what 
seemed  to  be  knife-shaped  silver  moneys  on  or  near  the 
bed-rock  beneath  Hissarlik  ;  that  money  is  mentioned  in 
the  earliest*  writings  and  inscriptions  extant,  both 
Chinese,  Indian,  Assyrian,  Babylonian,  Hebrew,  and 
Egyptian  ;  that  inscribed  baug-money  of  Kuen  Aten  has 
been  found  at  Tel-el-Amarna,  and  that  Pollux  mentions 
even  Greek  money  of  the  fifteenth  century  B.C. — all  this 
is  set  aside.  The  theorists  will  not  have  it.  Herodotus 
in  Clio  had  attributed  the  invention  of  coins  to  the  Lydians, 
and  there  was  an  end  of  the  matter.  All  coins  must  be 
of  this  or  a  subsequent  era.      Herodotus  in  Clio  was  final. 


Well,  let  us  see  about  this.  I  have  great  respect  for 
authority,  but  very  little  for  pedantry,  and  none  for  per- 
versity. The  same  paragraph  of  Herodotus  which  says 
that  "  the  Lydians  were  the  first  people  on  record  who 
coined  gold  and  silver/'  also  says,  immediately  after- 
wards, that  during  the  reign  of  "  Atys,  son  of  Manes, 
king  of  Lydia,"  a  famine  occurred,  to  alleviate  which, 
the  people  fasted  and  played  games  of  dice,  knucklebones, 
ball,  and  draughts  every  other  day  for  eighteen  years  ! 
It  must  be  evident,  except  to  the  dullest  understandings, 
that  this  is  mere  fable.  Atys  and  Manes  are  sacred 
names  brought  from  India  at  a  very  remote  era,  and  are 
about  as  nearly  related  to  a  distinctive  or  specific  date 
•as  is  ''  the  eleventh  after  Hercules "  of  the  Arundel 
marbles.  If  the  Lydians  coined  gold  and  silver  before 
they  fasted  eighteen  years  on  dice  and  knucklebones, 
during  the  reign  of  "Atys,  son  of  Manes,"  then  they 
■coined  much  earlier  than  Gyges,  for  Manu,  or  "  Manes,'' 
wrote,  or  was  quoted,  both  in  India  and  Egypt  some  eight 
•or  ten  centuries  earlier.  However,  there  is  somethingr 
more  to  be  said  on  this  subject,  and  as  it  bears  upon  the 
whole  system  of  fabulous  chronology  it  may  as  well  be 
said  now. 

The  passage  in  Clio  is  assumed  to  relate  to  the  eighth 
century  B.C.,  because  it  is  soon  afterwards  followed  bytlie 
narrative  of  the  Scythic  invasion  of  Asia  Minoi',  which 
occurred  in  the  following  century — an  inference  that  would 
connect  it  with  the  Lydia  of  the  Greeks,  which  commenced 
with  Gyges,  who  reigned  from  713  to  678.  It  is  also 
assumed  to  relate  to  any  and  all  money.  But  these 
assumptions  and  inferences  are  quite  unwarranted.  Be- 
fore it  w^as  colonised  by  Greeks,  Lydia,  according  to 
Herodotus  himself,  was  inhabited  by  Etruscans,  or,  at  all 
•events,  the  race  which  in  Ital}*  was  afterwards  known  by 
"that  name.  The  chronicles  of  Lydia  previous  to  the 
Mermnadfe  extend  backward  to  the  thirteenth  century  B.C., 
and,  therefore,  so  may  the  date  of  the  coinages  alluded  to 


by  Herodotus.  The  persistence  of  those  commentators 
and  metrologists,  who  rely  upon  this  passage  to  establish 
the  invention  of  money  hy  Gyges^  is  inexplicable.  Such 
a  conclusion  is  not  only  unwarranted  by  the  text,  it  is 
exploded  by  archaeological  research.  The  passage  con- 
tains no  date  and  is  very  guarded.  It  relates  only  to 
states  or  peoples  who  fabricated  money  of  gold  and  silver, 
to  those  who  fabricated  it  by  "  coining "  or  punching 
(not  cutting  nor  casting)^  and  to  those  whose  coinages, 
were,  to  the  knowledge  of  Herodotus, of  record — limitations 
which  deprive  this  statement  of  all  practical  worth. 

Modern  writers  too  often  fail  to  grasp  the  circum- 
stances of  the  ancient  Greek  authors  and  the  restrictions 
under  which  they  wrote.  The  Athenians  were  inculcated 
by  their  priests  into  the  old  Braminical  doctrine  of  their 
heavenly  descent.  They  were  taught  that  every  free- 
born  Atheniaii  was  descended  from  Jupiter  and  Apollo. 
One  of  the  questions  put  to  the  archons  upon  their  being 
invested  with  office  was,  "  Are  you  a  descendant  of  the 
gods  ?  "^  Although  intelligent  persons  knew  very  well 
that  they  were  not  so  descended,  and  therefore  that  the 
question  was  pi-actically  "  Are  you  a  free-born  citizen  of 
Athens?'^  there  was  a  very  numerous  class  of  "sojourners'^ 
and  helots,  who  were,  or  were  intended  to  be,  imposed  upon 
by  this  impious  fiction,  and  to  whom  it  was  believed  it  would 
have  been  an  unfortunate  or  dangerous  disclosure  to  admit 
that  anybody  or  anything  existed  before  the  Greeks  and 
their  works.  Consequently  Greek  authors  were  obliged 
to  claim  for  their  countrymen,  not  only  aboriginality,  but 
the  invention  of  every  art  or  device  known  to  man — of 
ploughing,  of  iron,  of  ships,  of  numbers,  of  letters,  of 
money,  of  music,  etc.  Hence,  although  Herodotus  in 
one  place  asserts  that  Egyptian  priests  traced  their  own 
chronology  back  17,000  years,  in  another  he  is  careful  to 
assure  us  that  the  Phrygians,  who  were  Greeks,  were- 
more  ancient  than  the  Egyptians,  and  hence,  without 
'  Potter,  Ant.,  ch.  xii. 


venturing  to  say  it  explicitly — for  Herodotus  was  a  pious 
and  prudent  man — he  permits  us  to  draw  the  conclusion, 
if  we  are  simple  enough  to  do  so,  that  the  Greek  Lydians 
were   the   inventors  of  money.      The  passage  is  not  only 
defective  in  the  respects  mentioned,  it  is  defective  in  other 
respects  (for  example,  in   reference  to  retail   trade)  which 
hardly  demand    comment ;   it    is    contradicted  by  the  in- 
scriptions  of   Tutmosis    at    Karnak,  which   relate   not   to 
bullion  but   to  coins,  and  which,  whatever  their  date,  are 
much  more  ancient  than  the  IMermuadte  ;  it  is  contradicted 
by  Pollux,  who  mentions  both  Greek  and  Etruscan  coins 
of  an  earlier  period  than  that  which  the  metrologists  have 
assigned  to  this  passage,  namely,  the  coins  attributed   to 
the    mythical    Ericthonius   and    those   stamped    with    the 
two-faced     Janus  ;     it    is     contradicted     by    the    Parian 
chronicles  relating  to   Pheidon   of   Argos,  who  was  older 
than   Gyges  ;   it   is  contradicted  by  the  opinion    of  orien- 
talists, who   carry  the  invention,  both  of   coined  and  cast 
money  in  India,  to  a  far  more  remote  era  than   either  of 
these  kings  ;  it  is  contradicted  by  Josephus  {"  Wars,"  i,  2) , 
"who    says    that   Herod    got   "  three    thousand    talents   in 
money  ^'  from  the  sepulchre  of  king  David.      Finally — and 
these   evidences   are   most   conclusive — the   date  and  con- 
struction   assigned  to    this  passage  of  Herodotus  is  quite 
I  demolished    by  the    more    ancient    inscribed    moneys   of 
I  China,  of  which  numerous   specimens  are  extant ;   by  the 
'  fragments  of  bell-shaped  money  found  in  the  Swiss  Lake- 
,  dwellings  ;   by  the  bangs  of  Kuen  Aten  ;   and  by  the  six 
I  specimens    of  knife-money  (Indian   siccals,   or   Levantine 
'  double-shekels  of  due  weight  and  fineness)  found  by  Schlie- 
;  mann  under  the  ruins  of  the  third  or  burnt  city  of  Ilium. ^ 
But  in  the  areopagus  of  the  Western  world  it  has  been 
a  rule  of  law  for  more  than  two  thousand  years  to  admit 

^  "Sica,  a  knife  of  iron,"  appears  in  .Josephus'  "  Antiq.,"  xx,  viii,  10, 
and  is  defined  in  the  "  Institutes  of  Justinian,"  iv,  18,  p.  451.  It  sur- 
vives alike  in  the  sycee  of  China,  the  sicca  of  India,  and  the  assegais  of 
South  Africa. 


110  other  than  Greek  and  Roman  evidences.  Although  it 
has  been  shown  over  and  over  again  that  the  Greek  works 
which  have  been  spared  are  filled  with  fabulous  materials, 
the  courts  of  literary  appeal  have  invariably  ruled  that 
their  evidence,  and  theirs  onlv,  was  valid.  Verv  o^ood. 
We  bow  to  the  ruling  of  the  courts,  and  shall  proceed  to 
adduce  some  more  Greek  testimony,  to  wit,  that  of  Homer, 
Plutarch  and  Pausanias,  all  Greeks,  all  pious  men,  and  all 
good  witnesses. 

Says  Pausanias  ("  Boeotics,"  38)  :  "  Even  in  the  Trojan 
times  they  were  in  no  want  of  money.  This  is  evident  from 
what  Homer  represents  Achilles  saying,  in  answer  to  the 
ambassadors  of  Agamemnon  : 

'  Xot  all  the  wealth  Orchomenus  receives  I' 

It  is  clear  from  hence  that  the  Orchomenians  were  supplied 
with  great  riches  at  that  time.-"  From  this  passage  it 
appears,  not  merely  that  Homer  referred  to  the  wealth  of 
Orchomenus  at  the  period  ascinbed  to  the  Trojan  war,  but 
that  Pausanius,  his  commentator — himself  a  learned  Greek 
antiquarian — was  of  the  opinion  that  wealth  here  meant 
money.  Elsewhere  the  same  author  ["  Argolics,^^  30) 
mentions  the  "  ancient  coins  of  the  Troezenii,  which  bear 
the  figure  of  a  trident  and  the  head  of  Minerva,"  and 
which  he  evidently  alludes  to  (though  not  explicitly)  in 
connection  with  the  remote  and  mythical  period  when  the 
Egyptian  god  Horus  and  the  Greek  god  Xeptune  divided 
the  dominion  of  Argos  between  them.  It  is  true  that  in 
''Laconics,"  12,  Pausanias  savs  that  in  the  time  of  kingr 
Polydorus  (eighth  century  b.c.)  there  were  not  (in  Laconia) 
"any  coins  of  silver  or  gold,'^  and  that,  forgetting  that 
this  was  the  period  of  Lycurgus'  iron  numeraries,  he  goes 
on  to  explain  that  trade  was  conducted  by  barter  ;  but 
this,  and  the  belief  that  the  East  Indians  in  his  own  day 
were  reduced  to  the  same  shift,  because,  as  he  was 
informed,  they  were  "  unacquainted  with  money,"  must 
be   regarded   as   slips   of   an    otherwise    most    exemplary 


Greek  witness.  The  correctuess  of  this  view  is  evident 
from  "  Messeuics/'  4,  where  he  informs  us  that  Polychares. 
of  Laconia,  who  was  the  victor  of  the  stadium  in  the  4th 
Olympiad  (b.c.  760),  was  the  creditor  of  Eu^phnus  for  "  a 
sum  of  money,"  which  the  latter  promised  to  "  refund'^  ;, 
and  lastl}',  from  "Boeotics,"  37,  where  he  alludes  to  ''an  an- 
nual sum  of  money '^  as  of  a  time  more  ancient  than  Hercules. 

Turning  now  from  Pausanias  to  Plutarch,  it  must  be 
premised  that  although  his  history  of  Theseus,  the  subject 
of  his  leading  biography,  is  filled  with  many  fabulous 
materials,  this  is  no  reason  for  doubting  the  reality  of 
Theseus  or  the  period  of  his  reign,  which  is  explicitly 
attributed  in  the  Parian  marbles  to  a  year  answering  to 
B.C.  1259.  Plutarch  says  of  this  Theseus  :  "  To  his 
money  he  gave  the  impression  of  an  ox,  either  on  account 
of  the  Marathonian  bull,  or  because  of  Tauros,  the  general 
of  Minos,  or  else  because  he  would  encourage  the  citizens 
(of  Athens)  in  agriculture.  Hence  came  the  expression 
of  a  thing  being  worth  ten  or  an  hundred  oxen.^^ 

Now,  I  contend  that  this  testimony  is  quite  as  valid 
as  that  of  Herodotus,  and,  corroborated  as  it  is  (with 
reference  to  the  antiquity  of  money)  by  so  many  other 
evidences,  that  it  is  a  great  deal  better.  But  this  is 
not  all.  The  Greeks  were  subject  to  the  deified  kings 
of  Assyria  and  Persia  more  generally  and  for  a  longer 
period  than  their  historians  cared  to  admit.  It  was  not 
for  nothing  that  they  called  the  sovereign-pontiff  of 
those  states  "  the  King  "  par  excellence.  He  was  so- 
styled,  not  because  he  had  no  distinctive  name,  nor 
because  he  was  the  king  of  a  great  or  of  a  contiguous 
empire,  but  because,  like  "  the  Sultan  "  of  to-day,  he  was^ 
their  king,  the  suzerain  of  numerous  Greek  states. 
Evidence  sustaining  this  opinion  is  found  in  the  long 
abstention  of  the  Greeks  from  the  coinage  of  gold  and 
in  the  common  currency  in  the  Greek  states  of  the- 
Persian  daric.  Sparta,  who  first  held  the  hegemony  of 
Greece,  issued  no  gold  coins  at  all ;  whilst  Athens,  who 


succeeded    her  iu   the  hegemony,  only   struck    such  coins^ 
in  an    hour   of     need  and  from  Phidias'   gold    statue    of 

Fortified  by  these  evidences  of  the  antiquity  of  money- 
in  the  Levant,  it  may  now  be  permitted  to  cite  the 
evidence  afforded  by  Sophocles,  the  contemporary  of 
Herodotus.  This  writer,  in  his  "  Antigone,"'  makes 
Creon  say  :  ''  Go,  and  buy  if  you  will,  the  electrum  of 
Sardis  (Lydia)  and  the  Indian  gold.'^^  As  Thucydides 
places  the  era  of  Creon  about  sixty  years  after  the  Trojan 
war,  the  dramatist  evidently  alluded  to  the  electrum  coins 
of  Sardis  and  the  gold  coins  of  India  as  of  the  eleventh  cen- 
tury B.C.  We  say  '^  coins  "  because  we  have  both  electrum 
coins  of  Sardis  and  gold  coins  of  India  older,  at  least,  than 
the  fifth  century  B.C.,  and  the  former  are  of  such  artistic 
merit  that  it  is  evident  that  they  are  not  archaic  coins, 
but  must  have  been  preceded  by  others,  of  ruder  type 
and  workmanship.  If  by  his  expression  ''  mouey  of  gold 
und  silver  "  Herodotus  meant  these  same  electrum  coins, 
then  his  statement  regarding  money  is  still  more  specious 
and  misleading.  The  allusion  of  Sophocles  by  itself 
would  be  of  little  worth.  The  archgeological  corrobo- 
rations and  the  ai-tistic  perfection  of  his  era,  which,  both 
in  sculpture  and  literature,  boldly  reflected  the  truths  of 
Nature,  lend  it  great  interest.  It  not  only  points  to  the 
antiquity  of  money,  it  is  still  better  evidence  in  regard 
to  the  antiquity  of  Levantine  commerce  with  India. 
This  was  certainly  in  the  hands  of  the  Yeneti  during  the 
twelfth  century  B.C. ;  for  they  were  driven  out  of  Pontus, 
Cappadocia,  and  Paphlagonia  before  the  peroid  assigned 
to  the  Trojan  war.  Previous  to  that  time  they  monopolised 
the  entire  commerce  of  the  Euxine,  the  Marotis,  Tanais, 
Caspian,  and  Azof — waterways  that  cai'ried  their  oriental 
traders  within  twelve  or  fifteen  degrees  of  their  destina- 
tion.     After   that  time   and  until  they   were    driven  out 

'  The  Athenians  struck  no  gold  coins  before  this  time. 
^  Humphreys,  186. 


of  lUyria  by  the  Romans,  during  the  third  century  B.C., 
the  commerce  of  the  Veneti  was  confined  to  the  coasts 
of   Greece  and  the  Adriatic  and   Baltic  seas. 

According  to  Boeckh,  p.  28,  one  hundred  of  the  new 
•drachmas  of  Solon,  who  was  archon  of  Athens  B.C.  594, 
"were  equivalent  to  72  or  73  more  ancient  drachmas.  If 
this  were  quite  reliable,  then  to  Solon  belongs  the  merit 
or  demerit  of  altering  the  ratio  from  13  to  10  for  1  ; 
because  as  we  have  some  of  the  drachmas  of  Solon  and 
know  their  contents,  the  proportion  given  would  make 
the  more  ancient  drachmas  contain  about  85  grains  fine 
silver,  the  weight  of  the  shekel.  As  twenty  of  these 
were  commonly  exchanged  for  a  gold  coin,  which, 
whether  a  dharana  of  India,  a  medimni  of  Media,  a 
daric  of  Persia,  or  a  stater  of  the  Levant,  contained 
a,bout  130  grains  of  fine  metal,  the  Athenian  ratio,  pre- 
vious to  the  lowering  of  the  drachma,  must  have  obeyed 
the  ratio  of  Assyria,  Media,  and  Persia,  which  was  13 
for  1.  But,  according  to  Queipo,  who  is  a  more  reliable 
authority  on  the  weights  of  coins  than  Boeckh,  although 
we  have  drachmas  older  than  Solon,  they  do  not  contain 
more  than  65  grains  fine  silver ;  so  that  the  change  of 
ratio  from  13  to  10  for  1,  assuming  it  have  occurred  in 
•Athens,  must  have  taken  place  before  Solon  was  archon. 
However,  it  is  certain  from  the  coins  that  the  ratio  under 
the  administration  of  Solon  was  10  for  1,  and  that  it 
continued  at  this  figure  for  nearly  three  centuries  ;  for  it 
is  impliedly  mentioned  by  Menander,  about  B.C.  322,  as 
being  still  in  vogue  at  a  recent  period.  During  this 
interval  the  ratio  in  the  Orient  was  6^  or  65,  and  in 
Persia   13  for  1,   or  double  the  Indian  ratio. 

Queipo's  evidence  on  this  subject  is  based  on  the 
weight  of  what  he  considers  one  of  the  oldest  Greek 
tetra-drachmas  (four-drachma  pieces)  extant.  This  he 
assigns  to  the  seventh  century  B.C.  It  only  weighs  260f 
grains,  and  he  adds  that  the  heaviest  one  extant  of  any 
age  only  weighs  266  graiiis..      So  that,  as  before  stated. 


until  these  denominations  and  weighings  are  overthrown,  '• 
we  must  regard  the  change  of  the  Greek  ratio  from  13  to 
10  for  1  as  having  occurred  before  Solon. 

Boeckh^  p.  44,  also  cites  the  anonymous  dialogue  on. 
Covetousness,  conjecturallj  assigned  to  Plato,  in  favour  of 
a  Greek  ratio  of  12,  which  is  based  on  the  equivalent  of 
one  chrysos  (or  stater)  equals  24  silver  drachmas.  But 
this  is  not  deemed  a  safe  deduction,  both  because  the  24> 
drachmas  to  the  chrysos  may  be  based  on  the  12^  ratio 
of  Syracuse,  and  because  the  dialogue  may  be  a  forgery 
of  the  Alexandrian  school.  Indeed,  this  very  ratio 
rather  indicates  the  forgery,  for  there  is  no  Athenian 
ratio  of  12  which  can  be  proved  from  the  coinages  pre- 
vious to  the  Alexandrian  era.  All  of  Boeckh^s  observa- 
tions on  the  ratio  are  weakened  by  his  inability  to  dis- 
tinguish between  the  like  names  of  coins  and  weights, 
and  by  his  misconception  of  the  hitherto  purely  legal  or 
ecclesiastical  and  arbitrary  nature  of  this  relation,  as 
fixed  by  the  mint  laws  of  the  temples. 

Croesus,  king  of  Lydia,  B.C.  560-46,  and  a  vassal  of  the 
king  of  Persia,  is  believed  to  hare  struck  those  Lydian 
gold  coins  of  which  some  specimens  are  extant.  As 
gold  coinage  was  a  pontifical  right  which  was  guarded 
with  great  jealousy  by  the  deified  Cyrus,  it  is  not  hazard- 
ing too  much  to  conjecture  that  its  infraction  by  his 
vassal  provoked  that  invasion  of  Asia  Minor  by  the  Persians 
which  ended  with  the  entire  destruction  of  the  Lydian 
power.  It  will  be  remembered  that  a  similar  act  on  the 
part  of  Abd-el-Melik  was  assigned  by  Procopius  as  the 
reason  of  the  war  which  was  declared  against  him  by 
Justinian  II. 

In  B.C.  540,  Polycrates,  of  Samos,  an  island  off  the  coast 
of  Lydia,  is  said  to  have  deceived  the  Spartans  with  false 
gold  coins.  Herodotus/  who  repeats  the  story,  affects  to 
discredit  it  ;  but  whether  true  or  false,  it  goes  to  prove 
that  the  art  of  forging  coins  was  not  unfamiliar  to  the 
»  Thalia,  56. 


Greeks  of  that  period.  Nor  was  the  art  of  testing  coins 
a  novelty,  for  Theognis  (b.c.  570-490)  informs  us  that 
"  alloyed  gold  or  silver  is  easily  detected  by  a  shrewd 
man."^  Thucydides,  describing  the  second  year  of  the 
great  war,  says  :  ''  The  Peloponnesians,  after  they  had 
ravaged  the  inland  parts,  extended  their  devastations 
to  those  which  are  called  the  coast,  as  far  as  Mount 
Laurium,  where  the  Athenians  had  silver  mines/'  This 
place  is  about  fifty  miles  from  Athens.  The  works,  re- 
opened in  recent  years,  show  that  the  ore  was  calamine, 
full  of  base  metal,  and  rather  difficult  to  reduce.  Its 
transformation  into  the  nearly  pure  Greek  coins  of  this 
period  proves  that  the  Greeks  were  also  proficient  metal- 
lurgists. In  a  note  to  this  passage  (p.  136)  the  Rev. 
William  Smith  follows  Moyle  in  the  assertion  that  '^  the 
silver  mines  at  Laurium  originally  belonged  to  private 
persons,  but  were  united  to  the  public  domain  by  Themi- 
stocles,''  whose  era  was  b.c.  514-465.  This  remark  con- 
veys an  erroneous  impression.  In  the  sense  of  control, 
the  mines  always  formed  a  portion  of  the  public  domain, 
but  they  were  worked  by  individuals,  both  citizens  and 
foreigners,  at  their  own  risk  and  for  their  own  account, 
upon  paying  one  twenty-fourth  of  the  produce  to  the 
State.  Xenophon,  writing  in  B.C.  353,  explicitly  says  : 
"  It  is  very  sti-ange  that  after  so  many  precedents  of 
private  citizens  of  Athens  who  have  made  their  fortunes 
by  the  mines  (of  Laurium),  the  public  should  never  think 
of  following  their    example.''"      From   this  passage  it  is 

1  Maxims,  line  119. 

"  Moyle's  translation  in  D'Avenant's  works,  vol.  i.  Xenophon  wrote 
about  B.C.  353  as  follows : — "It  may  be  objected  that  gold  is  at  least  as 
useful  as  silver.  I  shall  not  deny  this.  I  shall  only  remark  that  gold, 
if  it  become  more  common  than  silver,  would  fall,  whilst  silver  would 
vise  in  value."  This  opinion  could  only  have  been  sound  at  a  time  when 
there  were  no  laws  in  existence  determining  or  affecting  the  relative 
value  of  the  precious  metals ;  in  the  face  of  such  laws,  especially  when 
they  were  enforced  or  commended  by  sacerdotal  authority,  the  relative 
quantity  of  these  metals,  whether  the  quantity  produced  or  the  quantity 



quite  evident  that  down  to  the  time  of  Xenophon  the 
State  never  worked  the  mines  of  Laurium,  and  there  is 
no  evidence  that  it  ever  did  so. 

According  to  Pollux,  half-staters,  or  50-litra  pieces 
("  pentakonta-litra ")  in  gold,  popularly  known  as 
"  damaretions,''  were  struck  about  B.C.  480,  bj  Gelon, 
tyrant  of  Syracuse,  from  the  jewellery  which  the  women 
had  contributed  to  support  the  w-ar  with  Carthage. 
Diodorus,  overlooking  the  discourtesy  that  would  have 
been  offered  by  such  an  act,  says  they  were  coined  from 
the  garland  of  100  talents  which  the  Carthaginians  pre- 
sented to  the  queen  consort  Damaretta  on  the  ratification 
of  peace.  In  444  the  chalcus  or  ''  copper  "  (coin)  of 
Athens  was  in  circulation.  During  the  age  of  Pericles, 
who  died  in  429,  the  drachma  still  contained  65  grains 
fine,  a  ratio  of  10  for  1,  and  this  continued  during  the 
whole  of  the  Peloponnesian  w^ar,  431-04.^  In  428  (87th 
Olym.)  Eupolis  alludes  to  the  circulation  of  gold  staters 
in  Athens.  They  are  next  mentioned  by  Lysias  458-378. 
These  were  stamped  with  the  effigy  of  the  Mother  of  the 
Gods,  and  w^ere  variously  called  stater  and  chrysos,  the 
last  being  the  Greek  w'ord  for  gold.  They  were  probably 
struck  in  Cyzicus.  The  name  of  chrysos  suggests  the 
''  christnalas  ''  of  the  Indians.  None  of  the  pieces  thus 
stamped  are  extant." 

In  407,  during  the  war,  the  Athenians  melted  the 
gold-copper  statue  of   Minerva  Victorious  and   converted 

on  hand,  might  have  no  effect  at  all  upon  the  ratio.  Such  was  the  case 
after  the  opening  of  Spanish  America,  when  the  world  was  "  flooded  " 
with  silver;  such,  again,  was  the  case  after  the  opening  of  California  and 
Australia,  when  it  was  "flooded"  with  gold.  Neither  of  these  events 
made  the  slightest  impression  upon  the  ratio.  Xor  could  similar  events 
have  affected  it  in  the  time  of  Xenophon,  when  the  ratios,  both  of  India 
and  Egypt,  were  fixed  by  sacerdotal  authority,  and  that  of  Greece,  if  not 
also  an  ecclesiastical  adjustment,  was  a  necessary  and  unavoidable  com- 
promise between  the  ratios  of  those  two  great  empires. 
1  Boeckh.  -  Boeckh,  37,  38,  43. 


it  into  debased  gold  coins.  These  are  alluded  to  by 
Aristophanes  in  his  vulgar  comedy  of  ''  The  Frogs/* 
first  represented  in  406  as  '^  the  vile  copper  coins  struck 
but  yesterday,'*  in  contrast  with  "  the  old  coins  proved 
by  their  ring/'  Colonel  Jordan,  commenting  on  this 
in  the  "New  York  Financial  Record,"  justly  regarded  the 
'^  old  coins  "  as  silver  ones.  It  is  true  that  both  gold, 
silver,  and  copper  coins  had  been  long  in  use,  and  that 
in  this  very  year  (406)  there  was  a  new  issue  of  copper 
coins,  but  the  old  gold  coins  were  not  of  Athenian 
mintage,  and  the  "■  old  money "  evidently  alluded  to 
silver  coins.  We  know  of  no  lowering  of  the  silver 
coins  until  about  the  year  360,  when  the  drachma  was 
diminished  to  about  63^  grains  fine.  Timotheus,  who 
died  in  354,  issued  highly  over-valued  copper  coins  in 
place  of  silver  ones,  but  this  was  only  a  temporary 
resource,  and  these  copper  coins  appear  to  have  been 
afterwards  redeemed  and  withdrawn.^ 

According  to  Boeckh  (pp.  37,  38,  39),  Demosthenes,  in 
his  speech  against  Phormion,  said  that  the  gold  staters  of 
Cyzicus  were  worth  28  silver  drachmas  ''  at  the  Bos- 
phorus."  If  the  full-weighted  Attic  drachma  is  meant, 
this  would  imply  a  ratio  of  14j,  as  follows  : — 28  x  63  = 
1778-1-125  (the  weight  of  the  Cyzicene  stater)  =  14|. 
But  such  a  ratio  is  impossible,  because  the  Cyzicene  ratio, 
contemporary  with  the  Athenian  drachma  of  63|  grains, 
was  10  for  1,  as   follows  : — 20  silver   Cyzicene  drachmas, 

•  The  statue  of  Minerva  Victorious  was  executed  by  Phidias,  and 
during  the  war,  when  the  democracy  of  Athens  vented  its  ill-humour  in 
satirical  literature,  it  was  intimated  not  only  that  the  artist  had  seques- 
tered some  of  the  treasury  gold  provided  to  construct  it,  hut  also  that 
Pericles  had  shared  in  the  embezzlement,  and  had  urged  on  the  war  in 
order  to  avoid  an  investigation  into  the  matter.  This  charge  appears  in 
Aristophanes'  comedy  of  "  The  Peace."  With  a  stain  of  such  a  character 
resting  upon  the  statue,  it  is  less  difficult  to  understand  why  the  Athenians 
made  no  opposition  to  its  being  melted  down.  Its  weight  (exclusive  of 
the  alloy)  was  forty  talents,  or  somewhat  over  a  ton  (Thucydides> 
Book  ii). 


each  of  622  grains  =  1  gold  stater  of  125  grains. 
Queipo  reads  "  of  the  Bosphorns/'  instead  of  "  oi,"  but 
this  does  not  meet  the  difficulty,  for  28  x  62^  =  1750 -7- 
125  =  14,  which,  for  a  ratio  between  silver  and  gold  at 
this  period,  is  almost  as  bad  as  14^.  The  true  explana- 
tion lies  in  the  fact  that  after  the  campaigns  of  Alexander 
and  during  the  eras  both  of  Demosthenes  and  Menander, 
the  Cyzicene  ratio  was  changed  by  decree  to  12  for  1. 
Under  this  legislation  the  Cyzicene  stater  commanded  24 
of  the  old  Cyzicene  drachmas,  or  else  20  new  ones  of  about 
75  grains,  thus  125  x  12  =  1500-4-20  =  75.  It  also 
commanded  28  Athenian  di'achmas  of  about  53|  grains 
each.  Although  pieces  so  light  as  this  were  much  more 
common  at  -^gina,  there  is  not  the  slightest  doubt  that 
the}^  were  also  struck  at  Athens,  for  we  have  some  of 
them  yet,  and  a  few,  in  an  excellent  state  of  preservation, 
as  light  as  50  grains.^  These  were  most  likely  the  coins 
to  which  Demosthenes  alludes. 

After  descending  to  this  point  the  Athenian  drachma 
again  I'ose  to  the  old  weight,  not  from  any  increase  in 
the  supplies  of  silver,  or  any  improvement  in  the  fortunes 
of  the  State,  neither  of  which  circumstances  occurred, 
but  simply  from  the  fact  that  Alexander  the  Great  had 
seen  fit  to  change  the  ratio  to  12,  and  that  his  power 
and  authority,  or  the  influence  of  his  conquests,  compelled 
all  the  Greek  states  to  obey  his  command  or  follow  his 
example.  This  ''deity"  struck  staters  of  132-|  down  to 
131 A  grains,  and  ordered  the  tributes  to  be  collected  in 
these  coins,  or  else  in  silver  weighing  12  times  as 
much.  After  this,  and  under  the  circumstances,  the 
Athenian  drachma,  at  20  to  the  stater,  was  no  longer  pos- 
sible without  a  new  coinage,  and  this  was  impracticable. 
The  onl}^  other  alternative  was  to  reckon  the  drachma  at 
24  to  the  stater;  and  thus  the  score,  the  last  fragment  of 
the  old  Braminical  decimals,  was   effaced   from  the  Greek 

*  Finlay,  "  Eom.  and  Byz.  Money" ;  Queipo,  "  Systeme  Grec,"  sec.  280. 


coinage  valuations,  not  to  be  restored  until  a  mucli  later 

The  alteration  of  the  ratio  by  Alexander  can  hardly  be 
dated  before  the  destruction  of  Thebes  in  334,  and  was 
probably  not  promulgated  before  332.  It  was  possibly 
not  adopted  in  Athens  until  shortly  before  the  death  of 
Demosthenes,  Avhich  occurred  in  322, 

The  "Laws"  of  Plato  were  composed  in  either  348  or 
849,  but  it  is  evident  from  the  rudeness  of  the  diction  and 
the  conrseuess  of  thought  which  pervades  many  passages^ 
as  well  as  from  other  circumstances,  that  they  were 
"amended"  by  some  writer  of  the  Alexandrian  school. 
In  thus  corrupting  it  the  whole  text  of  the  work  was  evi- 
dently rewritten,  and  although  the  passage  we  are  about 
to  quote  was  probably  penned  by  Plato  himself,  the  absence 
of  technical  knowledge  on  the  part  of  the  transcriber  has 
cast  it  into  a  coarser  mould  than  the  original.  It  occurs 
in  Book  v.^ 

"  Further,  the  Law  (of  the  Ideal  Republic)  enjoins  that 
no  private  individual  shall  possess  or  hoard  gold  or  silver 
bullion,  but  have  money  only  fit  for  domestic  use,  such  as 
is  necessary  for  dealing  with  artizans  and  servants,  so- 
journers," and  slaves.  Wherefore  our  citizens  should 
have  a  money  current  among  themselves,  but  not  accept- 
able to  the  rest  of  mankind.  For  foreign  expeditions, 
journeys,  embassies,  the  expenses  of  heralds  (abroad),  and 
such  matters,  the  Government  must  also  possess  a  fund  of 
coins  current  in  other  States.  When  an  individual  needs 
to  go  abroad  let  him  obtain  consent  of  the  archon  and  go; 
but  on  his  return,  if  he  has  any  such  money  remaining, 
let  him  deposit  it  in  the  treasury  and  receive  an  equiva- 
lent sum  in  local  money.  If  he  is  discovered  to  have  con- 
cealed it,  let  it  be  confiscated,  and  let  him  who  knows  and 

^  See  vol.  V,  p.  313,  of  Jowett's  translation  for  a  more  literal  version. 

2  This  term,  which  Dr.  Jowett  rather  ambiguously  translates  "immi- 
grants,"  occurs  as  "sojourners"  in  the  "Acharnians"  of  Aristophanes, 
and  in  several  places  in  Thucydides.     See  Smith's  ed.  pp.  108,  117,  125. 


does  not  inform,  be  subject  to  anathema  and  dishonour 
equally  with  him  who  brought  the  mone}^,  and  also  to  a 
fine  not  less  in  amount  than  that  of  the  universal  money 
which  has  been  brought  back." 

It  is  fairly  deducible  from  this  passage  that  even  before 
the  change  of  ratio  by  Alexander,  the  disorders  of  mone- 
tary systems  had  made  a  deep  impression  upon  the  Greek 
philosophic  mind.  The  Athenian  money,  barring  a  few- 
coppers,  was  composed  of  gold  and  silver  coins.  If  we 
leave  out  the  copper-gold  staters  of  the  year  407  and  the 
copper  drachmas  of  the  year  354  (temporary  expedients) 
the  Athenian  coins  had  always  been  noted  for  their  purity 
and  full  weight ;  and  even  when,  after  the  era  of 
Pericles,  they  began  to  be  degraded  or  lessened  in  weight, 
they  were  not  debased  or  lowered  in  fineness.  The  dis- 
orders which  led  to  the  suggestion  of  so  radical  a  remedy 
as  is  contained  in  this  passage  from  Plato  were  due 
chiefly  to  the  ratio  between  gold  and  silver.  From  the 
moment  of  their  liberation  from  Persian  authority  down 
to  nearly  the  third  century,  the  Hellenic  States  had  main- 
tained a  constant  ratio  of  10,  and  that,  too,  in  the  face  of 
a  powerful  neighbour,  who  demanded  his  tributes  in  silver 
at  the  rate  of  13,  in  order  that  he  might  sell  this  silver 
in  India  with  cent,  per  cent,  profit.  This  dissonance  of 
ratio  gave  rise  to  much  disorder  and  probably  to  numerous 
local  losses  in  the  buffer  States  which  separated  Persia 
from  Greece,  as  they  fell  alternately  beneath  the  sway  of 
these  belligerent  rivals.  Not  only  this,  but  it  gave  I'ise 
to  hostile  ratios  in  other  directions,  as  in  the  coinages  of 
Sicily.  Plato's  remedy  was  a  noji-exportable  currency  ; 
the  expedient  resorted  to  at  the  present  day  for  q,  similar 
disorder  has  been  to  demonetise  silver.  This  will  cer- 
tainly remedy  the  disorder  of  the  legal  ratio,  because  it 
will  destroy  it  altogether ;  but  will  it  not,  at  the 
same  time,  introduce  a  greater  evil  by  reducing  to  a 
moiety  the  stock  on  hand  of  the  material  of  wliich  coins 
are  made  ? 


The  scale  of  Greek  monetary  equivalents  commonly 
adopted  by  numismatists  and  metrologists  is  7  lepta  =  1 
chalcus ;  8  clialclii  =  1  obolus ;  6  oboli  =  1  drachma; 
20  drachmas  =  1  stater  ;  5  staters  =  1  mina ;  60  minas 
=  1  talent,  and  the  talent  from  half  a  quintal  to  72 
pounds  weight  of  silver.  This  system  Boeckh  applies 
not  only  to  Athens,  but  to  "  almost  all  the  Hellenic 
States,  even  those  which  were  not  in  Greece  but  were 
of  Hellenic  origin."  It  is  strangely  defective.  It  em- 
braces in  one  system  the  coins  of  different  ages  ;  it  fails  to 
distinguish  coins  that  were  issued  at  the  ratio  of  10  from 
those  which  were  issued  at  the  ratio  of  12  ;  it  mistakes 
weights  for  coins,  and  the  talent,  which  here  was  a 
sum  of  silver  coins,  for  a  weight  or  a  sum  of  gold  ones. 
Following  the  metrologists  the  biblical  critics  have  valued 
the  mone}^  talent  at  £187  10s.  to  £342.  Its  true  value 
was  about  £5. 

Leaving  out  of  view  for  the  present  the  copper  coins 
lepton  and  chalcus,  the  most  ancient  equivalents  of  money 
iu  the  Greek  States  were  5  silver  oboli  =  1  silver  drachma 
of  about  85  grains  fine  ;  20  drachmas  =  1  gold  daric,  or 
chrysos,  of  130  grains  fine  ;  3  chrysi  =  1  talent  of  60 
drachmas  containing  5,280  grains  of  coined  silver.  (Pol- 
lux distinctly,  and  in  two  places,  says  3  chrysi  to  the 
talent.)      The  ratio  in  this  system  was  13  for  1. 

In  the  Solonic  system  the  equivalents  were  5  silver 
oboli  =  1  silver  drachma  of  about  65  grains  fine  ;  20 
drachmas  =  1  chrysos,  or  gold  stater,  of  130  grains  fine; 
5  staters  =  1  talent  of  100  drachmas  containing  6,500 
grains  of  coined  silver.      Ratio  10  for  1. 

In  the  decadence  system  of  the  fourth  century  B.C., 
the  equivalents  were  6  silver  oboli  =  1  silver  drachma 
■of  63^  grains  fine ;  24  drachmas  =  1  gold  stater  of 
127  grains  fine;  5  staters  =  1  talent  of  120  drachmas 
containing  7,620  grains  of  coined  silver.  Ratio  12 
for  1. 

Boeckh   says,  "I  agree  with   Gronovius   that  a  weight 


of  6  gold  drachmas  was  called  talent."  ^  This  is  a 
double  error.  First,  altbougli  it  is  quite  possible  that 
Gronovius  is  riglit  in  supposing  that,  at  some  time  or 
other,  the  talent  was  worth  6  staters,  this  valuation  does 
not  appear  to  belong  to  the  periods  under  review.  Origin- 
all}'  the  talent  was  worth  3  ehrysi,  afterwards  5  chrysi. 
Second,  it  was  not  the  weight  but  the  value  of  the  gold 
pieces  that  w-as  "  called  talent."  The  Greeks  were  among 
the  largest  producers  of  silver ;  they  gave  its  name  ta 
money  generally  ;  they  always  counted  in  silver  money ; 
and  when  the  denomination  was  omitted  silver  drachmas 
were  meant.  The  talent  was  originally  a  sum  of  60, 
then  100,  nnd  then  120  silver  drachmas,  and  its  weight, 
derived  from  these  numbers  and  weights  and  not  from 
those  of  the  foreigfn  g-old  coins  in  which  its  value  was 
sometimes  expressed,  was  successively  5,280,  6,500  and 
7,620  grains.  Like  the  penny-weight  and  shilling-weight 
of  the  Tudor  pieriod  in  England,  the  money  talent  was 
(if  regarded  as  a  weight)  derived  from  coins,  and  although 
not  itself  a  weight,  in  time  it  became  a  progenitor  of 
weights — for  example,  of  the  Roman  libra  and  the  avoir- 
dupois pound.  In  short,  these  last-named  weights,  whose 
origin  the  metrologists  have  long  sought  in  vain,  arose 
teleologically  from  the  Indian  siccal,  multiplied  by  some 
function  of  the  ratio  of  value  fixed  from  time  to  time 
between  gold  and  silver  in  Assyria,  Persia,  and 

*  The  "golden  drachma"  was  a  name  sometimes  given  to  the  chrysos 
or  stater.  I  fancy  that  "  medimni,"  used  by  Plutarch  in  reference  to  the 
institutes  of  Solon,  was  another,  perhaps  the  original,  name  for  these- 
coins  (Potter's  "  Ant.  Gr.,"  i,  14). 

^  Observe  the  confidence  of  a  borrowed  theory.  Says  Mr.  Charles 
Rann  Kennedy,  "Orations  of  Demosthenes,"  Appendix  ii  :  "Money  (as 
is  well  known)  has  always  been  founded  on  a  system  of  weight."  I 
should  put  it  quite  the  other  way,  and  say  that :  From  a  study  of  the- 
monetary  laws  and  numismatic  remains  of  ancient  states,  precise  weights 
appear  to  have  originated  from  coins.  Stater,  talent,  pound,  penny- 
weight, etc.,  are  terms  which  point  to  such  an  origin. 


Elsewliere  I  have  pointed  out  some  of  tlie  blunders 
into  wbicli  metrologists  and  writers  on  money  have  been  led 
by  confusing  the  sum  talent  with  the  weight  talent,  but  I 
cannot  resist  adding  one  more  to  the  number.  The  garland 
presented  by  the  Carthaginians  to  Queen  Damaretta  of 
Syracuse  was  probably  of  thin  beaten  gold,  fit  for  wearing 
on  the  head.  It  cost  100  talents.^  In  Athens  this  sum 
was  equivalent  to  10,000  silver  drachmas,  or  (in  gold), 
500  staters,  each  stater  being  of  about  the  weight  of  the 
modern  English  guinea  or  American  half-eagle.  But, 
according  to  the  scale  of  the  metrologists,  100  talents 
weighed  50  quintals,  or  between  two  and  three  tons  1 
The  sword  that  was  afterwards  suspended  from  the  same 
throne  over  Damocles  was  but  slight  torture  compared  with 
the  head-dress  in  which  the  metrologists  have  arrnyed  the 
good  Queen  Damaretta.  It  is  true  that  one  of  them  says, 
*'  When  golden  garlands  of  many  talents  are  mentioned, 
no  other  talent  but  such  as  these  (each  of  three  staters) 
are  meant.""  Yet  elsewhere  this  same  metrologist  falls 
into  the  old  blunder  and  treats  the  talent  o£  money  as 
a  talent  weight  of  silver. 

In  A.u.  566  (b.c.  187)  a  treaty  was  concluded  between 
Rome  and  Antiochus  III.,  of  Syria,  by  which  that  "  deity  '' 
stipulated,  among  other  things,  to  pay  "  1 2,000  talents  of 
silver  of  the  proper  Attic  standard,  the  talent  to  weigh 
not  less  than  80  Roman  pounds. '^^  Here,  evidently,  the 
talent  means  the  weight  talent,  but  this  was  not  always 
the  case  in  ancient  writings.  It  frequently  meant  the 
sum  of  money  indicated  in  the  foregoing  scales  of  equi- 
valents, just  as  now  a  sum  in  "  pounds  "  means  so  many 
gold  coins  [''  sovereigns  '')  and  not  so  many  pounds  weight 
of  gold. 

Gibbon,  who   alludes   to   the   crowns  presented   to  the 

Empi'ror   Claudius  by  Tarragonese  Spain   and   Gaul,  one 

of    si'ven    hundred    pounds,   the  other  of    nine  hundred 

pounds,   was  obliged    to    invoke   the    learned  Lipsius   to 

*  Diodorus,  xi,  26.  -  Boeckh,  41.  ^  Livj,  xxxviii,  38. 


explain  away  what,  if  regarded  as  a  weight,  was  evidently 
a  blunder.^ 

We  now  come  to  the  copper  coins  of  Greece.  Boeckh 
(p.  766)  associates  the  chalcus  and  lepton  with  the  name 
of  Dionysius  the  Brazen,  b.c.  444,  but  this  appears  to 
be  a  mistake.  There  was  indeed  a  chalcus  at  that 
period,  but  the  lepton  seems  to  beloug  to  the  Alexandrian 
era.  The  chalcus  was  probably  most  anciently  5  to  the 
obolus,  then  6,  and  finally  8.  The  lepton  was  7  to  the 
•chalcus.  The  original  quinquennial  relations  of  the 
chalcus,  obolus,  and  drachma,  which  found  their  proto- 
types in  those  of  the  Indian  retti  and  masha,  were  not, 
until  a  later  period,  disturbed  with  such  inharmonious 
fractions  as  the  one-seventh  and  one-eighth  valuations  of 
the  Greek  copper  coins. 

Finally,  it  must  be  observed  that  all  the  Greek  coins 
had  significant  names.  The  gold  coin  was  called  a  stater, 
or  standard,  not  because  the  Greeks  regarded  gold  coins 
as  better  than  silver  ones — on  the  contrary,  their  prefer- 
ence was  for  silver  coins,  the  product  of  their  own  mines — 
but  because,  owing  to  the  sacerdotal  character  of  gold  in 
the  Indian,  Assyrian,  and  Persian  religions,  the  weights 
of  the  gold  coins  used  in  the  Greek  States  were  kept 
constant,  and  the  Greeks  had  to  adjust  their  silver  ones  to 
those  changes  of  the  legal  ratio  which  necessity  or  national 
polity  enjoined.  In  other  words,  the  daric  was  of  a  con- 
stant weight  ;  the  drachma  was  not.  The  name  of  this 
silver  coin  means  a  handful.  Aristotle  (ap.  Poll.,  9,  77) 
says  that  this  handful  formerly  consisted  of  six  copper,  or 
iron,  obeloi.  But  this  could  not  have  beeii  much  before  his 
own  time,  because  anciently  the  obolos  was  made  of  silver. 
Obelos  means  a  digit  (and  therefore  a  finger),  a  needle,  a 
nail,  or  anything  long  and  thin,  as  obelisk,  which  is  from 
the  same  root.  Some  ancient  authors  reckon  10  grains 
to  the  obolos  weight" — an  equivalent  evidently  related  to 
the  ten  fingers  of  the  hands.  It  was  also  the  name  of 
'  "  Decline  and  Fall,"  ii,  72,  note.  "  Webster. 


the  smallest  silver  (afterwards  a  copper)  coin,  and  is 
doubtless  due  to  the  fact  that  the  "  handful"  of  five 
fingers  constituted  the  drachma.  The  translator  of 
Aristotle  makes  him  say  that  the  Greeks  formerh*  used 
nails  for  money.  Unless  he  alludes  to  the  metonj-m  for 
fiuger-nails,  he  might  as  well  have  said  needles,  or 
obelisks.  The  usual  Greek  word  for  finger  was 
dactulos,  from  which  are  derived  dactyle,  digit,  doight 
(Fr.),  deut  (D.),  and  doit  (old  Eng.),  the  last,  like  the 
primitive  obolos,  being  the  smallest  coin  of  the  time,  and 
meaning,  as  the  obolos  did,  a  finger,  or  one-fifth  of  the 
handful.  Chalcus  Tiieans  literally  a  copper.  Lepton 
means  small,  and  the  lepton  of  a  later  period  derived  its 
"name  from  the  fact  that  it  had  followed  the  obolos  and 
■chalcus  in  constituting  the  small  change  of  the  Greek 
xnonetar}"  system. 



Supposed  silver  coins  of  Servius  TuUius — "  Eoraano  "  coins — A.r.  369, 
the  Xummulai-y  system — A.r.  437,  Scrupulum  system  of  gold  and  silvei"- 
"Roma"  coins — A.r.  485,  Centralisation  of  silver  coinage  and  change  of" 
ratio — A.r.  537-47,  System  of  the  Lex  Flaminia — A.r.  663,  The  Social 
War  ;  coins  of  the  Italiotes  ;  concession  of  citizenship  ;  centralisation  of 
money  at  Rome — A.r.  675,  System  of  Sylla — Systems  of  Julius  Caesar — 
Augustus — Caligula — Attempted  revival  of  the  Republic — Galba — Otho. 
— Caracalla — Aurelian — Diocletian — Constantine — Arcadius  and  Hono- 
rius — The  Byzantine  systems  down  to  the  Fall  of  Constantinople  in  a.d.. 
1204 — The  "Western  Systems — Clo-\-is — Pepin — Charlemagne. 

O IXCE  the  -writing  of  my  "  History  of  Money  in 
*^  Ancient  States  "  many  hoards  of  Roman  coins- 
have  been  discovered,  and  many  important  numismatic- 
works  have  been  published  and  discussed.  These  throw^ 
so  much  new  light  on  the  Roman  monetary  systems  that 
the  subject  needs  revision.  The  present  chapter  is  an 
essay  in  this  direction. 

I  must  begin  by  assigning  a  lower  value  to  the  monetary 
evidences  contained  in  Pliny's  "  Natural  History  "  than  was. 
done  in  my  former  work.  Pliny  was  far  from  being  well- 
informed  on  the  subject  of  Roman  money.  He  wrote- 
hundreds  of  years  after  the  establishment  of  those- 
earlier  monetary  systems  of  Rome,  whose  metallic  remains 
have  been  preserved  by  the  earth  to  the  modern  world^ 
but  of  which  no  collections  appear  to  have  existed  in  his- 
time.  His  observations  on  the  subject  are  gathered 
rather  fi-om  grammatical  than  historical  works,  of  which, 
owing  to   the   proscriptions   of    Augustus,   but  few  were- 

ROME.  61 

extant  in  Pliny's  time.      When  to  these  difficulties,  which 

interposed  themselves   between  the  Roman   encyclopedist 

i  and  the   knowledge   which  he  attempted  to  acquire   and 

.  preserve,   are    added   the   difficulties  of    an   ecclesiastical 

[  and  imperial   censorship,  deeply  interested  in  conserving 

I  the    religion,     history,     and    chronology     invented     and 

I  bequeathed  to  it  by  Divus    Augustus,  the   wonder  is,  not 

that    Pliny   missed,  but  that   he  secured  so  much  on   this 

'  subject  as  is  to   be   found   in   his  work.      Hence,  I  have 

treated  his  observations  with  almost  reverential  deference, 

and  have  only  put  them  aside  where  they  are  contradicted 

by  the  numismatic  remains  or    other  archaeological  testi- 

;  monies. 

It  has  long  since  been  demonstrated  that  the  ecclesias- 
tical and  political  history  of  Archaic  Rome  is  fabulous. 
To  this  must  now  be  added  its  early  monetary  history. 
That,  too,  is  fabulous.  It  is  quite  possible  that  the  earliest 
money  of  Rome  was  the  ace  grave,  or  heavy  copper 
brick,  held  as  a  "  reserve,"  but  "  represented  "  in  the 
circulation  by  leather  notes. ^  It  is  also  possible  that  this 
was  followed  by  the  ace  signatum  and  afterwards  by 
silver  coins.  According  to  Charisius,  Varro  wrote  : 
"  Nummum  argenteum  conflatum  primum  a  Servio  Tullio 
dicunt;   is  quatuor   scrupulis  major  fuit  quam  nunc  est."^ 

'  Ace  is  thus  spelled  by  the  earlier  numismatists,  and  is  preferable  to 
As.  It  comes  from  the  Sanscrit  ayas,  meaning  totality.  The  Romans 
used  the  word  to  designate  any  congeries  (Gaston  L.  Feuardent,  in 
"Am.  Jour,  of  Numismatics,"  1878).  The  Tarentines  gave  the  same 
meaning  to  this  word  and  employed  it  in  similar  ways,  but  spelled  it 
i  Eis.  The  same  word,  bearing  the  same  meaning,  found  its  way  from 
i  India  across  the  steppes  of  Russia  to  the  Baltic,  where  it  is  still  found  in 
the  les  or  Jes  of  the  Netherlands  (see  chajDter  xvii).  The  leather  notes 
of  archaic  Rome  are  mentioned  by  Seneca  :  "  Corium  forma  publica  per- 
cussum."  Consult  my  "  Hist.  Money  in  Ancient  States  "  for  further 
information  on  this  subject.  Some  authors  trace  the  les  to  Janus,  whose 
face  was  stamped  on  the  coins. 

^  The  grammarian  Charisius,  a.d.  400.     Institutionum  Grammaticse, 
:  cited  by  Scaliger,  "  De  Re  Nummaria,"  ed.  1616,  p.  42.     Queipo,  ii,  17. 


"  It  is  said  that  silver  money  was  first  made  (conflatum 
means,  literally,  melted  or  cast,)  by  Servius  Tullius.  It 
was  more  valuable  (or  heavier)  by  four  scrupulums  than 
it  is  now."  Yarro  wrote  during  the  Augustan  age,  when 
the  denarius  contained  about  60  English  grains  of  silver; 
but  as  he  was  a  bookworm,  who  gathered  his  knowledge 
chiefly  from  ancient  authors,  these  circumstances  go  for 
nothing.  The  silver  coins,  alluded  to  by  his  authorities 
as  of  the  present  time,  "  now,"  were  probably  the 
denarii  of  a.u.  437,  mentioned  by  Pliny  (xxxiii,  13), 
which  weighed  78|  grains,  or  five  grains  more  than 
Pliny's  inexact  "  six  to  the  ounce  "  weight.  At  that 
period  a  scrupulum  (as  we  shall  presently  see)  meant  a 
tenth  of  anything ;  so  that  Varro's  statement  merely 
amonnts  to  this,  that  the  most  ancient  silver  coins  of 
Rome  were  worth  four-teuths  more  than  the  new  ones, 
namely,  those  issued  after  the  decline  of  the  nummulary 
system.^  The  Due  de  Luyues  had  a  number  of  very 
ancient  Roman  silver  coins  in  his  cabinet,  which,  relying 
upon  this  text,  he  attributed  to  the  reign  of  Servius 
Tullius  ;  but  numismatists,  while  admitting  their  genuine- 
ness, are  not  disposed  to  credit  them  with  such  great 
antiquity.  Xay,  even  the  existence  of  Servius  Tullius 
has  been  disputed.  Upon  a  review  of  all  the  evidences 
connected  with  this  difiicult  matter,  it  seems  that  the 
Romans  struck  silver  coins  at  a  much  earlier  date  than  is 
commonly  believed,  that  is  to  say,  befoi-e  a.u.  437,  indeed, 
before  the  nummulary  system,  which  preceded  that  of 
A.u.  437.  The  order  of  systems  was,  therefore,  as  follows  :  — 
1.  Ace  grave,  with  leather  notes;  2.  Ace  signatum  ; 
3.  Silver  (and  copper)  system  mentioned  by  Varro,  the 
silver  coins  (denarii)  weighing  each  about  118  grains, 
many  specimens  of  these  coins  being  still  extant ;  4. 
A.u.  369,  nummulary  system ;  5.  a.u.  437,  gold,  silver, 
and  copper  system,  the  silver  denarius  weighing  78| 

'  Queipo,  table  lix,  gives  the  weights  of  some  of  these  heavy  denarii. 

ROME.  63 

When  these  last-named  coins  became  the  principal 
circulating  medium  of  the  Roman  State^  some  of  the 
more  ancient  denarii  mentioned  by  Var^o^s  authorities, 
and  rescued  from  subterranean  hoards,  may  have  again 
crept  into  circulation,  when  they  were  valued  at  1-j^ 
denarii  each  ;  because,  although  they  contained  50  per 
cent,  more  silver  than  the  current  denarii,  they  were 
antiquated,  and  fit  only  for  recoinage,  which  involved  the 
loss  of  a  tenth  or  twelfth  for  seigniorage.  This  hypo- 
thesis disposes  of  the  passage  preserved  by  Varro  and 
Charisius.  It  was  probably  taken  from  Timteus,  and 
simply  meant  that  ten  of  the  ancient  silver  coins  passed 
current  for  fourteen  new  denarii.^  Similar  valuations  are 
to  be  found  in  all  ages  and  countries,  many  of  them  in 
the  coinages  of  the  present  day. 

With  regard  to  the  Janus-faced  circular  copper  coins, 
which  Lenormaut  ascribes  to  the  period  of  the  Gaulish 
invasion,  A.u.  369,  or  B.C.  384,  it  is  to  be  observed  that 
although  these  pieces  are  now  regarded  as  aces,  they  may 
have  been  nummi,  afterwards  called  sesterces,  or  pieces 
of  2|  aces,  the  figure  ''I"  upon  them  signifying  one 
nummus  instead  of  one  ace,  as  has  been  commonly  sup- 
posed. That  these  coins  were  connected  with  the  num- 
mulary system  of  the  Republic  there  can  hardly  be  a  doubt. 

Both  the  examples  of  the  Greek  Republics  and  the 
writings  of  Plato  and  other  philosophers  had  taught  the 
Romans  the  advantages  of  a  limited  and  exclusive  system 
of  money  issued  by  the  State,  and  having  little  or  no 
worth  other  than  what  it  derived  from  its  usefulness  and 
efficiency  in  measuring  the  value  of  commodities  and 
services.  The  proof  that  the  Romans  were  familiar  with 
such  a  system  of  money  appears  in  the  writings  of  Paulus, 
the  jurisconsult,  who   enunciated  its  principles  long  after 

'  With  regard  to  the  practise  of  seigniorage  on  Roman  coins,  Neibuhr 
denies,  while  Boeckh  affirms  it.  The  coins  prove  that  the  hxtter  is  right ; 
but  neither  of  these  eminent  savants  seemed  anxious  to  discuss  the 


the  system  had  ceased  to  exist.  Had  no  such  system 
ever  existed  in  Rome,  Paulus  would  have  had  no  warrant 
in  the  Roman  law  for  the  monetary  principles  he  laid 
down.  As  felted  paper  was  unknown,  the  symbols  of 
this  system  could  most  conveniently  be  made  of  copper. 
Therefore,  the  means  necessary  to  secure  and  maintain 
such  a  money  were  for  the  State  to  monopolise  the  copper 
mines,  restrict  the  commerce  in  copper,  strike  copper 
pieces  of  high  artistic  merit,  in  order  to  defeat  coun- 
terfeiting, stamp  them  with  the  mark  of  the  State,  render 
them  the  sole  legal  tenders  for  the  payment  of  domestic 
contracts,  taxes,  fines,  and  debts,  limit  their  emission 
until  their  value  (from  universal  demand  for  them  and 
their  comparative  scarcity)  rose  to  more  than  that  of  the 
metal  of  which  they  were  composed,  and  maintain  such 
restriction  and  over-valuation  as  the  permanent  policy  of 
the  State.  For  foreign  trade  or  diplomacy  a  supply  of 
gold  and  silver,  coined  and  uncoined,  could  be  kept  in  the 

There  are  ample  evidences  that  means  of  this  character 
were,  in  fact,  employed  by  the  Roman  Republic  ;  and, 
thei-efore,  that  such  was  the  system  of  money  it  adopted. 
The  copper  mines  were  monopolised  by  the  Roman 
State,  the  commerce  in  copper  was  regulated,  the  bronze 
nummi  were  issued  by  the  State,  which  strictly  monopo- 
lised their  fabrication,  the  designs  were  of  great  beauty, 
the  pieces  were  stamped  "  S.  C.,^^  or  ex  senatus  consulto  ; 
they  were  for  many  years  the  sole  legal  tenders  for  pay- 
ment of  contracts,  taxes,  fines,  and  debts  ;  their  emission 
was  limited,  until  the  value  of  the  pieces  rose  to  about 
five  times  that  of  the  metal  they  contained,^  and  they 
steadily  and  for  a  lengthy  period  retained  this  high  over- 
valuation. The  equivalent  of  four  aces  signata  to  the 
nummus  probably  mai'ks  the  period  when  the  nummus 
was  worth  four  times  its  weight  of  copper,  for  the  ace 
signatum  was  merely  so  much  metal  to  the  Romans  of 
'  "  History  of  Money  in  Ancient  States,"  257. 

EOiVlE,  65 

this  period,  thougli  it  may  have  had  a  superior  value  to 
the  Etruscan  and  other  surrounding  nations.  The  equiva- 
lent of  two  and  a  half  aces  sig-nata  to  the  uummus  pro- 
bably marks  a  further  decline  in  the  value  of  the  latter. 
When  the  nummulaiy  system  broke  down  entirely,  the 
nummi,  which  had  successively  been  worth  5,  4,  and  2^ 
aces  each,  fell  to  the  value  of  1  ace,  and  were  thence- 
forth themselves  known  as  aces.  The  decadence  of  this 
system,  that  is  to  say,  the  precise  period  when  the 
nummus  fell  to  the  value  of  an  ace,  is  uncertain.  If  we 
permit  ourselves  to  be  guided  by  Livy,  it  was  when,  the 
soldiers^  stipend  {"  there  being  no  silver  coined  at  that 
time  ")  being  paid  in  bronze  coins,  the  immense  quantity 
required  for  the  army  was  conveyed  to  it  in  waggons  ; 
in  other  words,  in  the  year  a.u.  402.  The  introduction, 
or  rather  the  re-introduction,  of  silver  coins  into  the 
monetary  system  of  Rome  must,  therefore,  with  the 
greatest  probability,  be  dated  between  a.u.  402  and 
A.u.  437.^ 

Livy  (vii,  16  ;  xxvii,  10)  mentions  a  tax  called  aurum 
vicesimarium  enacted  a.u.  397 — an  expression  which 
implies  the  use  of  gold  money  in  Rome  at  that  early  date, 
or,  what  is  more  likely,  at  a  still  earlier  one.  This  implica- 
tion dei'ives  corroboration  from  what  we  shall  presently 
have  to  say  concerning  the  "  Romano  "  coins. 

Lenormant  (i,  316)  holds  that  "  it  has  been  established 
by  Mommsen  beyond  all  question  that,  with  perhaps  one 
exception,  there  exist  no  gold  coins  of  the  Republic  but 
such  as  were  struck  by  its  military  generals  in  the  field, 
or  at  least  elsewhere  than  in  Rome."  The  exception 
relates  to  the  aureus  of  Cn.  Lentulus,  and  even  this,  it 
is  claimed,  was  not  struck  under  his  civil  authority  as 
monetary  triumvir,  but  as  urban  quaestor,  specially   com- 

'  Livy,  iv,  60.  A  similar  coinage  of  silver  took  place  in  China  in 
1845,  where  a  somewhat  similar  system  of  bronze  numeraries  had  existed, 
and  where,"  by  the  way,  it  still  exists  (H.  M.  A.,  43).  At  the  present 
time  (1895)  silver  is  being  again  coined  in  China  for  soldiers'  pay. 



missioned  to  provide  for  tlie  expenses  of  a  war.  This 
opinion  is  based  ratlier  upon  a  theory  tlian  a  fact.  The 
theory  is  that  the  Roman  coins  of  the  Republic  were 
struck  by  virtue  of  the  imperiutn,  that  is  to  say,  a  military 
rather  than  a  State  prerogative.  The  answer  to  this 
theory  is  that  there  was  and  could  have  been  no  pre- 
rogative of  the  imperium  other  than  that  derived  from 
the  State. 

What  was  the  irapeinum  ?  Supreme  military  com- 
mand :  the  right  to  do  whatever  was  deemed  essential  to 
achieve  military  success.  This  right  sprang  from  the 
people.  In  the  most  ancient  times  it  was  conferred  by 
the  Comitia  upon  the  king  after  they  had  elected  him, 
and  by  virtue  of  his  office.^  When  the  monarchy  was 
overthrown  the  people  annually  elected  two  supreme  co- 
ordinate magistrates,  into  whose  hands  were  committed 
all  the  powers  of  the  State,  including  the  imperium. 
These  were  acquired  and  exercised  by  virtue  of  their 
office.  For  this  reason  the  consuls  were  sometimes  called 
imperatores.^  When  a  general  in  the  field  had  obtained 
a  notable  victory,  it  was  customary  for  the  troops  to  hail 
him  by  this  proud  title  ;  but  it  could  not  be  retained  after 
the  ti'iumph  or  the  return  of  the  victorious  commander  to 
the  city.  There  it  fell,  of  course,  to  the  consuls  by 
virtue  of  their  office.^  It  follows  that  after  the  Comitia, 
the  powers  of  the  imperium  were  derived  from  the 
consuls,  and  were  subject  to  modification  or  revocation  by 
them.  No  doubt  many  of  the  Roman  commanders,  during 
the  period  of  the  Republic,  struck  coins  in  the  field  in 
order  to  melt  down  and  divide  the  spoils  or  pay  the 
troops,  but  such  coinages  were,  legally,  as  completely  under 
control  of  the  State  as  though  they  had  been  made  in 
Rome.  Indeed,  without  such  legal  control  and  supervision 
it  would  have  been  impossible  for  generals  in  the  field  to 

1  Niebuhr,  i,  288 ;  Carr,  "  Roman  Ant.,"  108. 

^  Adams,  "  Roman  Ant.,"  91,  and  authorities  cited. 

3  Adams,  322. 

EOME.  67 

adjust  their  gold  coinages  with  such  nicety  to  the  weights 
of  the  silver  coins  and  the  ratios  of  value  established  by 
the  State  from  time  to  time  between  the  precious  metals, 
as  appear  from  a  due  consideration  of  the  coinage  systems 
of  this  era.  Moreover,  at  the  period  alluded  to  by 
Mommsen,  the  State  had  but  recently  emerged  from  the 
use  of  a  bronze  currency  system,  whose  efficiency  and 
value  had  depended  largely  upon  the  limitation  of  its 
issues  by  the  State,  which  was,  therefore,  not  likely  to 
have  parted  with  this  supernal  prerogative.  This  system 
had  broken  down,  not  from  any  inherent  defect  or  im- 
practicability, but  owing  to  the  circumstances  of  a  war 
which  took  place  upon  Roman  soil  and  threatened  the  very 
existence  of  the  Republic.  Finally,  if  there  was  a  de- 
partment of  the  government  which,  more  than  any  other, 
enjoyed  the  prerogative  of  coining  gold,  it  was  the  pon- 
tificate rather  than  the  imperium,  for  in  the  ancient  times 
gold  was  always  held  to  be  a  sacred  metal,  and  upon  it 
was  stamped,  not  so  much  the  emblems  of  war  as  of  religion. 
But  that;  the  Roman  coins  were  struck  by  pontifical  au- 
thority does  not  appear  to  have  been  suspected  by  the 
learned  Prussian. 

When  Mommsen's  imperium  argument  is  applied  to  the 
affairs  of  the  Empire,  it  flies  in  the  face  of  the  most  illus- 
trious witness  whose  testimony  has  been  preserved  to  us 
from  antiquity.  Says  Tacitus  :  *'  Besides  the  honours 
already  granted  to  Bleesus,  Tiberius  ordered  that  the 
legions  should  salute  him  by  the  title  of  imperator,  ac- 
cording to  the  ancient  custom  of  the  Roman  armies  in 
the  pride  of  victory,  flushed  with  the  generous  ardour  of 
warlike  spirits.  In  the  time  of  the  Republic  this  was  a 
frequent  custom,  insomuch  that  several  at  the  same  time, 
without  pre-eminence  or  distinction,  enjoyed  that  military 
honour.  It  was  often  allowed  by  Augustus,  and  now  by 
Tiberius  for  the  last  time.  With  him  the  practice  ceased 
altogether."  ^  From  this  passage  we  learn  that  during 
1  Tacitus,  "  Annals,"  iv,  74. 


the  Empire  the  title  of  imperator,  and  with  it  necessarily 
such  prerogatives  as  belonged  to  the  imperium,  were 
granted  Idv  the  order,  permission,  or  clemency  of  the 
sovereign-pontiffsj  and  that  Tiberius  granted  it  for  the 
last  time.  These  replies  to  the  argument  of  the  Prussian 
savant  are  strengthened  bythe  legendsuponthe'''Romano^^ 
coins  presently  to  be  mentioned. 

The  earliest  Roman  silver  coins  which  are  still  extant 
in  any  number  belong  to  two  series,  stamped  respectively 
"  Romano  "  and  "  Roma."  Numismatists  generally  attri- 
bute both  of  these  series  to  the  mints  of  Capua  and  other 
cities  of  Campania,  which  were  then  included  in  Magna 
Graecia.  They  date  the  ''Romano"  coins  from  a.u.  412 
to  543,  and  the  "  Roma  "  coins  from  a.u  437  to  543. 
Before  givinof  their  reasons  for  these  attributions  and 
dates,  I  must  be  permitted  to  say  that  several  circum- 
stances induce  me  to  regard  the  "  Romano  "  coins  as  of  an 
era  previous  to  the  Roman  nummulary  system  ;  in  other 
words,  that  the  silver  coins  of  the  "Romano"  series  are 
embraced  in  the  heavier  and  earlier  denarii  alluded  to  by 
Varro.  (1.)  Many  of  them  weigh  half  as  much  again  as  the 
•'  Roma  "  coins_,  and,  for  this  and  other  similar  reasons, 
could  hardly  have  belonged  to  the  same  system.  Babelon 
saw  this  objection,  and  attempted  to  avoid  its  force  by  sup- 
posing the ''Romano"  denarii  to  be  Greek  di-di-achmas,but 
our  chapter  on  Greek  moneys  proves  that  the  explanation 
is  defective.  The  "  Romano  "  coins  are  not  heavy  enough 
for  di-drachmas  of  that  period,  even  when  of  the  lightest 
weight  yet  found.  (2.)  Although  the  internal  dissensions 
of  the  Samnites  led  to  the  interference  of  the  Romans  so 
early  as  a.u.  412,  then  under  the  consuls  M.  Valerius 
Corvus  and  A.  Cornelius  Cossus,  yet  this  interference  did 
not  for  many  years  result  in  any  such  conquests,  on  the 
part  of  the  latter,  as  would  have  warranted  them  in 
stamping  money  in  the  field,  or  anywhere  else,  for  circu- 
lation in  Campania  ;  whilst  the  legend  "  Romano  "  forbids. 
the  hypothesis  that  they  were  stamped  for  circulation  else- 

ROME.  69 


where  than  in  Eome.      Their  Grecian  type  may  be  simply 
due  to   the   employment  of   Greek  die-sinkers  in  Rome. 

For  these  reasons  the  "  Romano  ''  silver  coins  are 
regarded  as  older  than  the  ''  Roma "  series  ;  this  view 
iacluding  all  the  "  Romano  "  coins,  whether  of  gold,  elec- 
trum,  silver,  or  bronze. 

The  reasons  advanced  by  numismatists  for  calling  both 

of  these  series  Capuan    or   Campanian  coins  are  briefly  as 

follows  : — (1.)    The    types  of    the    coins    are   Greek,   not 

Roman.      They    follow   the    coins    of  Macedon ;    some  of 

them  follow  the  types  of  previous  Capuan  coinages  ;    some 

are    stamped    '' Capua '^   in    the   Oscan    letter.      (2.)   The 

'  word    "  Romano, '^  as   employed   on  the  coins,  is  a  Greek 

rather  than  a  Roman  form.     (3.)  The  type  of   some  of  the 

Capuan   coins    (for   example,    the     casqued     Minerva)    is 

1  apparently  copied   from    the   coins  of  Andoleon,  king  of 

I  Pseonia  (in   Macedon),  about  a.u.    470,      However,   these 

i  last  are  rather  late  "  Roma  "  coins,  about  which  there  is 

no  dispute. 

It  is  quite  possible  that  during  the  wars  of  the  Romans 
with  the  Samnites  and  other  nations  in  Italy,  their 
generals  struck  some  "Roma"  coins  in  the  field;  but 
unless  we  are  prepared  to  throw  both  Livy  and  Pliny 
overboard,  it  must  be  admitted  that  such  coins  were  also 
.•-truck  in  Rome,  and  that  all  of  them,  whether  in  Rome 
or  elsewhere,  were  struck  under  the  coinage  prerogative 
of  the  Roman  State — a  prerogative  which,  from  the  birth 
to  the  downfall  of  their  government,  the  Romans  never 
willingly  let  slip  from  their  hands. 

In  A.u.  437  a  notable  addition  was  made  to  the  monetary 
system  of  Rome  by  the  issuance  of  a  "  Roma "  gold 
coin,  called  the  "  scrupulum,"  which  was  valued  at 
twenty  aces,  and  others  of  forty  and  sixty  aces — not 
sesterces,  as  has  been  hitherto  supposed.^  Assuming 
that  the  denarius  of  this  period  contained  78f  grains  fine 
silver  and  the  relation  of  silver  to  gold  was  9  for  l,then 
1  Mommsen,  M.  R.,  i,  266,  cited  by  Lenovmant,  i,  162. 


the  scrupulum  coins   sliould  contain   about  17^   grains    of 
gold,  whiclij  as  is  shown  in  the  table  below,  was  the  fact. 

It  should,  however,  first  be  explained  that  in  Greece 
and  Eome  the  scrupulum  (not  the  scripulum,  for  which 
it  has  often  been  mistaken)  was  the  name  of  a  pawn  or 
draughtsman,  and  that  the  game  of  draughts  was ancientlv 
played  with  nine  and  afterwards  with  ten  men.  Hence 
the  scrupulum  at  first  meant  the  ninth,  and  afterwards 
the  tenth  part,  or  multiple,  of  anything*.  So  also  an 
insect  with  ten  feet  was  called  scrupipid^,  and  a  measure 
of  land  ten  feet  long  and  ten  feet  wide,  containing  a 
hundred  square  feet^  was  called  a  scrupulum.  At  a  still 
later  date  the  game  of  draughts  was  played,  as  it  is  still 
played,  Avith  twelve  men,  but  these  numbers  were  unknown 
to  tlie  game  at  the  period  under  review.  Hence,  in 
Rome,  during  the  fifth  century  of  the  city,  a  scrupulum 
meant,  not  a  weight,  but  the  ninth  of  anything  ;  and  in 
the  case  of  money  it  meant  the  ninth  of  the  gold  aureus. 
This  is  shown  in  the  following  table  : 

Roman  coinage  system  about  x.r.  437  or  B.C.  316.     Ratio  of  silver 
to  gold,  9  for  1. 

2^  bronze  aces  =  1  bronze  sesterce. 

4  sesterces         ^  1  silver  denarius,  78f  Eng.  grains. 

2  denarii  =  1  gold  scrupulum,  17'5  grains,  stamped  "  XX.'* 

18  denarii  =  1  gold  aureus,  loT'o  grams. 

5  aurei  =  1  libra  of  account,  containing  787'o  grains  fine  gold. 

Hence  900  aces  =  1  libra. 

The  gold  and  silver  coins  were  of  substantially  fine 
metal.  Type  of  gold  coin  :  obverse,  the  head  of  Romulus 
or  Mars,  accompanied  by  numerals,  denoting  the  tale  value; 
reverse,  an  eagle,  with  the  legend  "  Eoma.^^  Type  of 
silver  coins  :  obverse,  female  head  with  winged  helmet  ; 
reverse,  a  biga  and  the  legend  "  Roma.^^ 

Pliny  (xxxiii,  13)  says  that  the  libra  was  equal  to 
"  DCCCC,'^  or  900  sesterces,  meaning  aces,  to  the  value 
of  which  the  bronze  sesterces  meanwhile  fell. 

From  this  table  of  equivalents  it  will  be  observed  that 

ROME.  71 

the  scrupulum  -was  not  a  scripulum  weight,  uor  the  libra 
a  pound  weight ;  but  that  the  former  was  simply  one- 
ninth  of  the  aureus  coin,  and  the  latter  five  aurei. 

The  scrupulum  coins  in  the  British  Museum  marked 
'•'  LX/'  meaning  60  aces,  contain  from  52  to  52"7  grains 
of  gold,  the  theoretical  weight  being  52§  grains.  Those 
marked  ''  XL  "  contain  o4'4  to  34' 5  grains,  the  theore- 
tical weight  being  35*106  grains;  those  marked  "XX" 
contain  17"2  to  17'4  grains,  the  theoretical  weight  being  17'5 
grains.  The  denarii  contain  from  66*5  to  79"9  grains.  The 
lightest  of  these  denarii  evidently  belong  to  later  systems. 

With  regard  to  the  'Mibra  "  of  account.  Gibbon  says 
that,  besides  the  libra  weight,  the  Romans  used  a  libra  of 
account,  which  they  called  pondo  :  "  Outre  la  livre  pon- 
derale  des  Romains,  ils  avoient  une  livre  de  comte,  qu'ils 
appelloient  pondo. ^^  ^  An  example  in  point  is  shown 
below.  The  pound  of  account  was  also  called  the  "  libra 
sestercia,"  or  the  ''  sestercium  ;  ^'  that  is  to  say,  a 
thousand  bronze  sesterces,  whether  composed  of  gold, 
silver,  or  copper  coins,  Pliny,  Ammianus  Marcellinus, 
and  the  Theodosian  Code  all  assure  us  that  there  were 
5  aurei  to  the   "  pound  ''   of  account  during  the  Empire, 

Gibbon  supposed  that  the  Romans  commenced  coining 
gold  at  40  aurei  to  the  libra  weight,  afterwards  (citing 
Snellius  and  Agricola)  at  42,  and  gradually  more,  until,  in 
the  time  of  Caracalla,  the  number  reached  48  (109"38 
grains  each)  ;  "the  drachma  or  denier^'  always  weighing 
half  as  much,  and  valued  at  ^V  o^  ^^^  aureus,  a  ratio 
of  12i,  But  the  "numismatic  discoveries  of  the  present 
century  prove  this  to  be  all  wrong.  The  aureus  of  a,u,  437 
was  struck  33^  to  the  pound  weight ;  the  denier  was 
not  always  lialf  the  weight  of  the  aureus;  the  ratio 
was  never  12|;  there  were  not  always  25  deniers  to  the 
aureus.  As  these  errors  are  only  a  few,  amongst  a  vast 
number  on  the  same  subject,  that  appear  in  the  usual 
works  of  reference,  they  are  only  noticed  here  on  account 

^  Misc,  works,  ed,  ISlo,  iii,  437. 


of  the  eminence  of  the  author,  and  the  almost  universal 
acceptance  of  the  great  literary  masterpiece  to  which  his 
essay  on  ''  Roman  Money  ^'  formed  a  preliminary  study. 

In  A.u.  485  a  small  silver  coin  was  struck  in  Rome,  the 
fourth  of  a  denarius,  called  a  sesterce.  At  the  same  time 
there  appeared  a  new  coinage  of  aces,  of  which  10  went 
to  a  denarius,  of  about  73  grains.  These  coins  are  shown 
in  the  following  table  of  equivalents  •} 

Roman  coinage  system  under  the  consuls  Ogulnius  and  Fabius,  A.r. 
485  or  B.C.  268.^     Ratio  of  silver  to  gold  10  for  1. 

24  bronze  aces  =:  1  silver  sesterce,  18"229  grains. 

4  sesterces         =  1  silver  denarius,  72'9167  grains. 
20  denarii  ^  1  gold  aureus,  14o'833  grains. 

5  aurei  =  1  libra  of  account,  containing  729i- grains  fine  gold. 

Hence  1000  aces  =  1  libra. 

The  gold  and  silver  coins  were  of  substantially  pure 
metal.      Coins  struck  in  Rome. 

It  is  in  reference  to  this  period  that  Budteus  (lib.  4) 
says  that  the  pondo  of  account  consisted  of  100  denarii,  or 
400  sesterces  (or  1000  aces).  The  system  was  purely 
decimal  :  for  example,  ]Oaces=l  denarius;  20denarii  = 
1  aureus  ;  5  aurei,  or  1000  aces  =  1  libra.  This  circum- 
stance has  a  significance  which  does  not  belong  to  the 
present  subject,  but  which  the  curious  reader  may  pursue 
in  my  ''Middle  Ages  Revisited,"  index  word  "Ten.'' 
Mommsen  holds  that  in  a.u.  485  Rome  limited  the  Latin 
colonies  to  the  coinage  of  bronze,  and  thenceforth  mono- 
polised for  herself  the  coinage  of  silver. 

Between  the  era  of  this  system  and  the  year  a.u.  535, 
■when  a  treaty  relative  to  the  exchange  of  prisoners  made 
during  the  first  was  renewed  during  the  second  Punic 
war,  the   libra  of   account   appears    to   have   been   raised 

'  Ernest  Babelon  ("Monnais  de  la  Republique,"  i,  xxiii)  dates  the 
earliest  silver  sesterce  in  A.tT.  485  (486).  It  disappeared  in  537,  reap- 
peared in  665,  and  finally  disappeared  in  711. 

'  Pliny,  xxxiii,  13  ;  Livy,  Ep.  xv. 

EOME.  73 

"from  5  to  10  aurei.  There  are  several  testimonies 
which  support  this  opinion.  Plutarch,  who  alludes  to 
this  treaty  in  his  life  of  Fabius  Maximus,  fixes  the 
ransom  of  the  prisoners  at  250  drachmas  or  denarii. 
Livy  (xxii,  23),  in  alluding  to  the  same  ti-ansaction,  com- 
putes it  at  two  and  a  half  pounds  of  money — "  argenti 
pondo  bina  et  selibras."  This  allows  250  denarii  to  the. 
libra  of  account.  As  the  denarius  of  that  period  weighed 
about  70  English  grains  and  the  aureus  about  160  grains, 
and  the  ratio  was  10  for  1,  it  follows  that  there  were  10 
aurei  to  the  libra,  as  appears  in  the  next  table.  Ocher  tes- 
timonies arise  from  the  use  of  the  phrases  ''  libra  ses- 
itercia"  and  "  sestertium,^'  meaning  a  thousand  sesterces 
or  2500  aces  to  the  libra,  which  could  only  be  the  case  if 
the  libra  was  raised  to  10  aurei. 

Roman  coinage  system  during  the  second  Punic  ivar,  a.v.  535,  or  B.C. 
218.     Ratio  of  silver  to  gold  10/or  1. 

10  bronze  aces  =  1  silver  denarius,  70  grains. 
25  denarii  =^  1  gold  aureus,  160  grains. 

10  aurei  ^  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  2500  aces  =  1  libra. 

The  gold  and  silver  were  of  substantially  pure  metal. 
'These  coins  were  struck  in  Home. 

However,  this  valuation  of  the  libra  did  not  stand  long. 
Before  the  conclusion  of  the  war  the  libra  appears  to  have 
'been  again  valued  at  5  aurei,  as  shown  in  the  following 
table  of  equivalents  : 

Roman  coinage  system  under  the  consuls  Claudius  and  Livius, 
A.u.  547,  B.C.  206.^     Ratio  of  silver  to  gold  10  for  1. 

16  bronze  aces  =  1  silver  denarius,  63  grains. 

Qi  denarii       =  1  quarter-aureus,  39'375  grains. 
25  denarii         =  1  gold  aureus,  157'5  grains. 

5  aurei  :=  1  libra,  787'5  grains. 

Hence  2000  aces  =  1  libra. 

'  Pliny,  xxxiii,  13.     Babelon,  p.  xv,  dates  this  coinage  from  the  Lex 
IFlaminius  or  Lex  Fabius,  a.u.  537,  the  year  of  the  battle  of  Trasimenus, 


The  gold  and  silver  coins  were  substantially  of  fine 
metal.  These  coins  were  struck  in  Rome.  About  a.u. 
525  tbe  Roman  authorities  bad  esta^blished  branch  mints, 
and  authorised  the  striking  of  coins  for  the  Republic  in 
the  provincial  cities  of  Italy,  Cis-Alpine  Gaul,  and 
Illyria  ;  but  this  did  not  include  the  right  to  strike  the- 
■denarius.^  In  paying  the  troops  a  denarius  was  always 
reckoned  at  10  aces. 

One  result  of  the  Social  war  (a.u.  664^6),  which  was 
caused  by  the  demand  of  the  rural  Italians  to  share  the 
privileges  of  citizenship  with  the  Romans,  was  that  the 
Roman  provincial  mints  in  Italy,  with  the  exception  of 
those  in  Sicily,  were  all  closed,  and  the  work  of  coinage- 
was  removed  to  Rome.  Before  this,  however,  the  in- 
surgents issued  coins  stamped  Italia,  but  as  the  coins 
were  suppressed  with  the  insurrection,  they  hardly  claim 
a  place  in  the  present  brief  review.  Among  the  Italiote 
coins  were  the  aurei  of  Minius  leus,  weighing  lol^- 

The  period  of  the  Lex  Papiria,  cited  by  Pliny,  which 
the  older  commentators  assigned  to  a.u.  587,  has  been 
gradually  lowered,  until,  in  the  most  recent  numismatic 
works,  it  has  been  assigned  to  a.u.  663,  when,  by  the  Lex 
Julia,  the  rights  of  Roman  citizenship  were  at  length  con- 
ceded to  all  freeborn  Italians.  It  is  now  called  the  laws 
of  Julia  and  Plautia-Papiria.  The  original  authority  for 
this  lowered  date  is  Niebuhr,  who  has  been  followed  by 
Mommsen,  Lenormant,  and  Babelon.  The  principal 
changes  which  took  place  in  the  Roman  monetaty^  law  at 

when  Q.  Fabins  Masimiis  was  dictator  and  C.  Servilius  and  C.  Flaminius- 
were  consuls.  A  discrepancy  like  this  one,  of  ten  years,  and  a  further 
discrepancy  of  five  years,  appears  in  many  instances  between  the  Augustan 
and  Christian  chronology.  See  "  Middle  Ages  Eevisited,'*  Appendix,  on 
"  Ludi  Saeculares." 

'  Mommsen,  "  Eechtsfrage,"  18  ;  Lenormant,  ii,  234. 

'  Friedlander  and  Burgon  give  the  weight  of  the  aureus  of  Minius. 
leus  at  131+  English  grains. 

ROME.  75 

tliis  period   will   be   found    embodied    in   the    system    of 

Roman  coinage  system  under  Sylla,  a.u.  675,  or  B.C.  78.     Ratio  of 
silver  to  gold  9  for  1. 

4  bronze  aces  =  1  silver  sesterce,  15  grains. 

4  sesterces       =  1  silver  denarius,  of  about  606  grains. 
12|  denarii       ^  1  gold  half-aureus.^ 

25  denarii  :=  1  gold  ai^reus,  of  about  168'3  grains. 

5  aurei  =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  2000  aces  =  1  libra. 

The  gold  and  silver  pieces  were  of  substantially  fine 
metal.  Type  of  gold  coins  :  MANLIA  with  biga,  or  L. 
SYLLA ;  on  reverse,  figure  on  horseback.  Type  of 
silver  coins  :  obverse,  head  of  Ceres,  with  small  head  of 
Taurus  ;  reverse,  altar  and  sacrifice — apparently  a  con- 
cession to  the  Bacchic  cult  of  Italy. 

The  gold  coins  of  this  series,  which  are  very  rare,  are 
believed  to  have  been  struck  in  Asia.  The  weights  of 
four  examples  in  the  British  Museum  are  169'3,  167' 7, 
167'3,  and  167'2  grains,  the  theoretical  weight  being' 
168'3  grains.  The  silver  coins  of  the  same  series  are 
serrated  on  their  edges,  and  weigh  from  55  to  61^  grains 
each,  the  theoretical  weight  being  60'6  grains.  Sylla 
sti'uck  no  bronze  or  copper  coins,  nor  were  any  struck 
between  his  time  and  the  xeav  when  Augustus  celebrated 
the  Ludi  Steculares,  and  when  M.  Sanguinius  and  P. 
Licinius  Stoto  filled  the  position  of  monetary  triumvirs. 

In  his  earlier  coinages  Julius  Cfesar  struck  aui-ei  of 
142  and  afterwards  (in  a.u.  694)"  of  131  j  grains,  specimens 
of  which  are  still  extant.  The  ratio  of  silver  to  gold  in 
these  coinages  was  probably  10  for  1.  In  the  coinages 
of  A.u.  708  this  ratio  was  definitively — and,  as  it  turned 
out,  permanently — fixed  at  12  for  1. 

'  "No  smaller  gold  pieces  in  use  at  tbis  period"  (Humpbrey.s,  303). 
-  Letronne,  p.  75. 


Roman  coinage  system  under  Julius  Csesar,  708,  or  B.C.  45. 
Ratio  of  silver  to  gold  12  for  1. 

4  bronze  aces  ^  1  silver  sesterce,  15  grains. 

4  sesterces'     =  1  silver  denarius,  about  60  grains. 
25  denarii         =  I  gold  aureus,  125  grains. 

5  aurei  =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  2000  aces  =  1  libra. 

The  gold  and  silver  pieces  were  of  substantially  fine 
metal.  Letronue  (p.  84)  says  that  down  to  Vespasian  the 
aurei  were  0"99l  to  0"998  fine.  Csesar  was  the  first  to 
stamp  the  image  of  a  living  person  (his  own)  on  a  Roman 
coin   (Lenormant,  ii,  332). 

No  language  is  more  positive  than  that  of  Mommsen 
and  Lenormant  in  laying  down  the  following  institute  : 
that  Rome  never  permitted  her  vassals  to  strike  gold. 
"  La  Republique  se  reservait  exclusivement  la  fabrication 
de  la  monnaie  de  ce  metal,  sans  la  permettre  a  ses  vassaux.^^ 
When  gold  was  struck  in  the  provinces — for  example,  the 
staters  struck  by  Titus  Quinctius  Flamininus  in  Greece  and 
afterwards  the  aurei  of  Sylla  in  Asia,  or  the  aurei  of 
Ponipey  in  Cilicia,  a.u.  693 — it  was  always  done  in  the 
name  of  Rome  and  under  the  prerogative  of  the  State. ^ 
This  practice  was  continued  to  the  end  of  the  Empire. 
Lenormant  regards  it  as  the  jealous  prerogative  of  the 
imperium.^  We  have  discussed  this  theory  already,  and 
shown  it  to  be  untenable.  But  even  admitting,  for  the 
sake  of  limiting  its  place  in  time,  that  such  was  the  case 
during  the  Republic,  it  certainly  ceased  to  be  so  when  the 
Empire  was  consolidated  by  Augustus,  and  all  the  powers 

'  "  These  were  the  so-called  '  First  Brass,'  or,  more  properly,  *  First 
Bronze,'  which  took  the  place  of  the  silver  sesterce,  the  latter  thenceforth 
disappearing  from  circulation.  The  half-sesterce,  or  dupondius,  was  the 
"*  Second  Brass,'  and  the  reduced  ace  was  the  '  Third  Brass '  of  the 
•earlier  numismatists"  (HumiDhreys,  302,  312). 

2  Lenormant,  "Mon.  Ant,"  ii,  120;  Mommsen,  M.  R.,  iii,  344. 

^  Weight  of  an  aureus  of  Pompej,  146  grains.     Lenormant,  ii,  303. 

*  Patin,  35  ;  Lavoix  ;  Procopius  ;  Zonaras. 

*  Pp.  121,  248,  304,  363,  etc. 

ROME.  77 

and  prerogatives  of  the  State,  whether  religious,  civil,  or 
military,  were  merged  in  tlie  sovereign-pontiif.  The 
latest  of  such  alleged  military  coins  were  the  silver 
denarii  and  bronze  aces  struck  by  T.  Carisius,  who  was 
Legatus  Augusti  in  Gallia  and  Lusitania,  a.u.  731—2.^ 
Augustus  united  the  imperium  to  the  pontificate  in  a.u, 
740,  and  from  this  time  forward  the  right  to  strike  gold 
became  the  exclusive  prerogative  of  the  sovereign-pontiff. 
That  it  was  regarded  a  sacerdotal  prerogative  is  proved 
by  the  continual  repetition  of  religious  emblems  on  the 
coins.  Lenormant  himself  noticed  this  :  "  Pendant  long- 
temps,  elles  ne  portant  que  des  types  religieux  assez 
uniformes,  arretes  par  les  autorites  publiques  et  puises 
dans  la  religion  de  I'etat.''^" 

In  this  year  the  Roman  coinage  system  was  permanently 
organised.^  The  coinage  prerog-ative  was  divided  be- 
tween the  sovereign-pontiff  and  the  Senate,  the  former 
retaining  that  of  gold  and  resigning  to  the  latter  that 
of  silver  and  copper.  In  a  short  time,  through  the 
virtual  subjection  of  the  Senate,  the  silver  coinage  also 
fell  to  the  sovereign-pontiff.  In  accordance  with  the 
ordinance  of  a.u.  740,  the  coinage  of  silver  was  permitted 
to  the  proconsuls,  and  the  pieces  stamped  PERMissu  DIVI 
AVGusti,  that  is,  "  by  permission  of  the  divine  Augus- 
tus.^^  The  coinage  of  bronze  always  remained  with  the 
Senate.^  However,  this  prerogative,  like  that  of  silver, 
was  virtually    in   the  hands   of  Augustus  ;   yet   it  suited 

'  Lenormant,  i,  362.  -  Lenormant,  ii,  232. 

^  "  The  school  of.Mommsen  hold  that  a  reorganization  of  the  monetary 
system  took  place  in  a.u.  727,  when  Octavius  received  the  title  of 
Augustus,  or  in  A.u.  738,  the  date  of  the  Ludi  Sseculares  and  of  his 
(second)  attempted  apotheosis  "  (Lenormant,  ii,  214,  399).  But  they  fail 
to  offer  any  proofs  *^  which  connect  the  reorganization  with  these  dates. 
Moreover,  their  conclusions  are  vitiated  by  the  unwarranted  assumption 
that  the  coinage  was  a  prerogative  of  the  imperium — an  assumption 
which  is  negatived  by  their  own  admissions  concerning  the  coinages  of 
Otho  mentioned  further  on. 

*  Lenormant,  ii,  195,  216,  218. 


his  interest  not    to  meddle  with,   it    as   he   did    with  the 
coinage  of  silver. 

Roman  coinage  system  of  Augustus,  a.u.  740,  or  B.C.  13.     Ratio  of 
silver  to  gold  12  for  1. 

4  bronze  sesterces  =  1  silver  denarius,  58'4  grains. 
25  denarii  =  1  gold  aureus,  121"6  grains. 

5  aurei  =  I  libi'a,  608  grains. 

Hence  500  sesterces  =  1  libra. 

The  gold  and  silver  pieces  were  of  substantially  fine 

In  this  system  the  silver  sesterce  gives  way  to  a  bronze 

The  defects  of  Pliny^s  history  of  the  Eoman  money 
arise  chiefly  upon  his  too  confident  reliance  upon  verbal- 
isms ;  yet  the  school  of  Mommsen  follow  him  without 
the  least  misgiving.  They  gravely  inform  us  that  pecunia 
is  derived  from  pecus ;  that  the  value  of  coins  is  dedu- 
cible  from  the  names  of  weights  ;  that  the  modern  pound 
sterling  is  from  the  pound  weight  of  silver,  and  the 
marc  of  money  from  a  mark  weight  of  silver  ;  they  talk 
familiarly  of  the  single  and  double  "  standard  '^  under 
Julius  Caesar  and  Augustus  ;  and  draw  conclusions  from 
ancient  history,  the  premisses  of  which  cannot  possibly 
be  traced  in  Europe  farther  back  than  the  coinage  legisla- 
tion of  the  sixteenth  century.  Such  a  school  exhibits  no 
claims  to  be  regarded  as  authorities  on  either  the  prin- 
ciples or  the  history  of  money.  They  have  been  taught 
to  look  upon  money  as  so  much  metal,  Avhereas  it  is 
plainly  an  institution  of  law.  It  is  as  though  measures 
of  length  and  volume  were  regarded  as  so  much  wood, 
because  it  has  been  found  most  convenient  to  make  yard- 

^  Patin  ("  Hist.  Coins,"  p.  71)  says  tbat  the  Eoman  gold  coins  were  of 
fine  metal  down  to  the  reign  o£  Alexander  Severus,  when  they  were 
alloyed  with  one-fifth  of  silver.  This  alliage,  however,  was  not  common, 
but  exceptional.  He  goes  on  to  say  that  the  purity  of  the  coins  was  re- 
stored by  Aurelian.     On  this  subject,  consult  Lenormant,  i,  200,  203. 

ROME.  79 

sticks,  pecks,  and  busliels  of  that  matei'ial.  Moinmsen's 
conception  of  the  monetary  system  of  Aug-ustus  is  that 
it  began  Avith  an  attempt  to  establish  the  "  double 
»  standard^'  at  a  ratio  of  15*75,  then  at  14'29,  etc.,  but  that 
.  after  several  trials  this  system  was  abandoned  as  im- 
practicable, and  the  "  single  gold  standard  "  was  definitely 
adopted  in  place  of  it !  The  facts  are  that  no  such  idea  as 
is  involved  in  the  phrase  of  single  or  doable  "  standard  " 
was  dreamed  of  at  that  period  ;  that  no  such  attempts 
were  made  ;  that  no  such  ratios  are  deducible  from  the 
Roman  coinage  systems ;  that  the  ratio  of  the  Empire 
was  always  12  for  1  ;  that  no  change  occurred  in  its 
monetary  system  until  the  reign  of  Caracalla,  and  then 
ouly  a  slight  one  ;  and  that  no  change  at  all  was  made  in 
the  ratio  for  nearly  thirteen  hundred  years. 

Gold  standard,  silver  standard,  double  standard,  halting 
standard,  etc.,  these  are  terms  derived  from  the  legislation 
of  the  sixteenth  and  seventeenth  centuries,  when,  for  the 
tirst  time  in  the  history  of  the  European  world,  private 
individuals  were  permitted  to  coin  money,  or,  what  is 
the  same  thing,  they  were  accorded  the  right  to  require 
the  government  to  turn  their  bullion  into  money,  free  of 
taxation,  loss,  or  expense.  This  idiotic  legislation, 
euphemistically  called  "  free  coinage,'^  deprived  govern- 
ment of  that  control  over  money  which  had  ever  been 
regarded  as  an  essential  attribute  of  sovereignty  and 
as  necessary  for  the  maintenance  of  opportunities  to 
facilitate  a  just  distribution  of  wealth.  In  effect  it 
destroyed  money,  or  nomisma,  which  is  an  institution 
or  a  measure  of  value  prescribed  and  regulated  by  law, 
and  it  substituted  for  money  an  unknown  and  illimitable 
quantity  of  metal — a  substance  that,  as  such,  is  not  amen- 
able to  legal  control.  Hence  arose  the  modern  jargon  of  gold 
standard,  silver  standard,  etc.  So  long  as  money  was 
governed  by  law,  it  was  the  whole  number  of  coins,  reduced 
to  one  denomination,  that  determined  prices.  When  money 
ceased  to  be  governed  by  law,  as  was  the  case  after  the 


legislation  procured  by  the  Dutch  and  English  East 
India  Companies^  it  was  the  Avhole  quantity  o£  metal 
that  determined  prices.  Before  the  seventeenth  century 
the  "  standard,"  or  measure  of  prices,  was  the  whole 
number  of  coins,  at  the  valuation  affixed  to  them  by  law  ; 
after  that  period  the  legal  valuation  (except  as  to  the 
ratio)  formed  no  part  of  the  measure ;  and  within  the 
last  quarter  of  a  century,  even  the  ratio  has  been  swept 
away.  The  measure  of  prices  in  the  Western  world  at 
the  present  time  consists  chiefly  of  metal,  as  such. 
When  that  metal  is  gold,  the  measure  is  called  the  "  gold 
standard '' ;  when  it  is  silver,  the  "  silver  standard," 
etc.  But  in  the  days  of  Augustus  this  was  wholly  un- 
know^n.  There  was  no  individual  coinage.  The 
measure  of  prices  was  the  whole  number  of  coins 
which  were  legal  tenders,  and  which  circulated,  not 
merely  in  Eome,  but  throughout  the  Empire,  after  they 
were  reduced  to  one  of  the  various  denominations  which 
were  affixed  to  them  by  law.  Within  prudent  limits,  it 
made  no  difference  whether  the  coins  were  pure  or  impure, 
light  or  heavy,  yellow,  white,  or  brown.  iSTo  one  could 
lawfully  stamp  them  except  the  State.  The  value  they 
bore  was  (within  such  prudent  limits)  whatever  the  State 
choosed  to  stamp  upon  them  j'  and  this  principle  was 
so  deeply  planted  in  the  Eoman  law  and  constitution,  that 
it  became  the  groundwork  of  judicial  decisions  as  to 
Avhat  constituted  a  good  and  lawful  tender  of  money, 
down  to  and  including  the  period  of  Sir  Matthew  Hale. 

With  regard  to  the  ratios  which  have  been  calculated 
by  Mommsen  and  Lenormant  between  gold  and  silver,  I 
have  only  room  to  say  briefly  that  they  are  founded 
chiefly  on  two  errors.  The  first  one  is  that  of  mistaking 
the  ''libra"  of  money,  or  argenti,  which  was  simply 
a  sum  of  current  aurei,  no  matter  of  what  weight  or 
alloy,  for  a  pound  weight  of  silver  metal ;  the  second 
one  is  that  of  calculating  the  ratio  from  anachronical 
'  Digest,  xviii,  i,  1. 

EOME.  81 

coins,  from  exceptional  coins,   or  from  those  of  only  local 
cm-rency  or  limited  legal  tender.      The    ratios   calculated 
by  Hoffman^  are  of  the  same  defective  character.      When 
the  ratio  is  calculated,  as  it  should  be,  from  the  full  legal 
tender    coins,    issued    under     a    given    system     by    the 
sovereign-pontiff,   it   will  be  found  to    have   always   been 
12    for   1,       Although    many     of    the    Roman    emperors 
issued  debased   silver    coins,  these  Avere    never  full   legal 
tenders ;    for    example,    they     were    not    receivable    for 
tributes   or    taxes,   which   were   payable   either   in    aurei 
or  in    silver  coins,  or  bullion,  at    the   weight  ratio  of   12 
for  1.      Lenormant's   statement  (i,  185)  that  ''Alexander 
Severus,  in   order    to    steady   the    revenues,  decided  that 
all  payments   into   the  treasury  should   be    exclusively  in 
gold,^'    is    unwarranted  by  the   text  to   which    he   refers, 
which  merely  says  that  the    emperor  "  frequently  caused 
his    gold  and    silver  to    be  weighed."      This  is   precisely 
what  is   done  periodically  in  all   great  treasuines."      Upon 
this    text   Lenormant   also   builds  the    unwarranted   con- 
clusion   that  the  "  standard,"  or    measure   of  prices,  was 
gold   metal.      His   master,  the   illustrious  Mommsen,  also 
sees  in   the  gradually  lessened  weight    of  the   aureus,  "  a 
virtual    demonetisation    of    gold."^       Whereas,  in    fact, 
nothing  of  the  sort  is   to  be  seen.      The  lowering  of  the 
aureus    (a   slight   one)   was    merely  an    economy   of   gold 
metal  in  the  fabrication   of    Eoman   money — a   measure 
probably    dictated    by   the    necessities   of  the  times,  and 
of  no    necessary  beax'ing  on   the  position  of  money  in  the 
law,   or   even   upon  its  power    to   correctly   measure  the 
value  of  commodities,  services,  or  debts.* 

Mommsen  and  Lenormant  conclude  their  remarks  on 
this    subject  with    the    statement   that    the    aureus   was 

^  "  Lehre  von  Gelde,"  pp.  103,  et  seq. 

2  "  Omne  aurum,  omne  argentuni,  idque  frequenter  appendit "  (Lam- 
pridius,  in  "Alex.  Severus,"  xxxix). 

3  M.  K.,  iii,  63. 

"  Mill,  "  Polit.  Econ." 



eventually  so  much  degraded  and  debased  that  it  ceased 
to  be  regarded  as  money — that  it  became  merely  ingots 
of  bullion,  and  was  weighed  out  with  balance  in  hand. 
They  refer  for  their  warrant  to  Vopiscus,  in  Aurelian,  9 
and  12,  Probus  4,  and  Bonosus  15.  Upon  turning  to 
these  texts  we  merely  find  that  certain  payments  of  gold 
"phillips/'  or  silver  '' antonines,'^  or  copper '' sesterces'^ 
are  mentioned,  just  as  we  now  say  so  many  Louis  d'or. 
Napoleons,  Maria  Theresa  dollars,  etc.  Not  a  word 
appears  in  these  texts  about  "  ingot-money/'  or  bullion, 
or  weighing  in  balances.  These  phrases  and  inferences 
are  not  only  unwarranted  by  the  texts,  they  entirely 
pervert  and  misrepresent  the  condition  of  money  under 
the  Roman  law. 

From  the  second  coinage  of  Constantine  to  the  fall  of 
the  Empire,  a  period  of  nearly  900  years,  the  aureus  was 
seldom  degraded,  and  but  once  debased;  it  never  ceased 
to  be  regarded  as  money.  There  was  no  ingot-money ;  there 
was  no  weighing  of  gold  coins,  they  passed  then,  as  they 
do  now,  by  tale,  and,  what  is  more,  it  was  unlawful  to 
refuse,  criminal  to  alter,  and  death  to  deface  them  or  to 
reduce  them  to  bullion.^  Says  Gibbon,  of  the  Roman 
imperial  revenues  :  "A  large  portion  of  the  tribute  was 
paid  in  money,  and  of  the  current  coin  of  the  Empire 
gold  alone  could  be  legally  accepted.""  Elsewhere  he 
says  :  "  Pendants  que  dans  les  tributs  il  exigeoit  toujours 
I'aureus  de  Constantin;^'  i.  e.  while  as  to  tributes,  they 
were  always  exacted  in  the  aureus  of  Constantino.^  He 
should  have  added  :  "  Or  in  twelve  times  their  weight  of 

Suetonius  informs  us  that  upon  the  death  of  Caligula 
an  attempt  was  made  to  re-establish  the  Republic* 
Among  the  acts  of  the  Senate  on  this  occasion  was  a 
decree  decrying  the  tyrant's   money,  and  requiring  it  to 

'  Arrian,  Epictet,  iii,  1 ;  Paul.  Sentent.  recept.  v,  25,  1  ;  Lenormant, 
i,  237  ;  Digest,  xlviii,  13,  1;  Suetonius  in  "Augustus." 

-  "Decline  and  Fall,"  ii,  64,    ^  Misc.  works,  iii,  460.     ■*  Claudius,  10. 

ROME.  83 

be  brouglit  into  tlie  treasury  and  melted  down,  *''  so  that, 
were  it  possible,  both  his  name  and  features  might  be 
forgotten  by  posterity.'"  Nevertheless,  there  are  nearly 
an  hundred  different  types  of  his  coins  still  extant.  The 
Senate  of  this  period  was  republican  ;  but  the  lower 
orders  of  the  people,  the  soldiers,  and  the  priests  were 
in  favour  of  the  hierarchy,  the  former  for  the  sake  of  the 
largesses  bestowed  by  the  emperors,  the  latter  on  account 
of  their  benefices,  which,  ever  since  the  time  of  Augustus, 
had  been  rendered  lucrative  and  permanent.  Claudius, 
the  uncle  of  Caligula,  was  either  so  rapid  in  his  move- 
ments, or,  as  the  story  goes,  was  so  quickly  taken  up  by 
the  prffitorian  baud,  that  the  design  of  the  Senate  proved 
abortive,  and  it  did  not  have  time  to  issue  coins  proclaim- 
ing the  Eepublic  before  Claudius  succeeded  in  securing 
the  support  of  the  guards,  and  was  enabled  to  suppress  the 
incipient  rising.  It  does  not  appear  that  the  Senate 
issued  any  republican  coins  on  this  occasion,  but,  as  we 
shall  presently  see,  coins  of  such  a  character  were  indeed 
issued  some  twenty-five  years  later,  when  Nero  died  and 
before  Galba  seized  the  imperial  throne. 

There  were  circumstances  connected  with  the  reign  of 
Nero  which  must  have  encouraged  the  growth  of  a  revo- 
lutionary spirit,  having  for  its  object  the  overthrow  of  the 
;  hierarchy  and  worship  of  Augustus,  if  not,  indeed,  the  re- 
storation of  the  ancient  Eepublic. 

Nero  seems  to  have  been  rather  sceptical  about  the 
divine  origin  which  was  claimed  for  Augustus,  and  but 
little  disposed  to  offer  adoration  to  him.  When  Kome 
was  accidentally  burnt,  he  did  not  hesitate  to  rebuild  it 
.with  funds  plundered  from  the  temples  in  which  this 
profane  worship  was  conducted.  By  way  of  retaliation, 
the  enraged  priests  composed  his  biography,  which  they 
have  filled  with  such  horrid  crimes  that,  were  the  least 
portion  of  them  true,  would  render  it  difficult  to  under- 
stand why  the  memory  of  Nero  was  so  dear — as  many 
1  Laurence  Echard,  "  Eom.  Hist.,"  ii,  103. 


instances  prove  that  it  was — to  his  countrymen  for  many 
ages.  If  Nero  was  imbued  Avith  any  religion  at  all,  it 
was  that  of  Liber  Puter,  for  it  is  the  effigy  of  this  deity 
which  appears  most  frequently  on  his  coins.  Suetonius 
also  informs  us  that  he  sacrificed  three  times  a  day  to 
another  deity,  whose  worship  was  clearly  allied  to  that 
of  Bacchus.^  Otho,  who  was  one  of  Nero's  favourites, 
professed  the  religion  of  Isis,  which  was  either  the  same 
or  a  similar  cult."  This  was  the  popular  religion  of  Italy, 
where  some  remains  of  it  survive  to  the  present  day.  It 
was  the  religion  of  the  poor  and  down-trodden,  for  it 
inculcated  peace  and  friendship,  and  promised  liberty  and 
immortality.  Nero's  dislike  for  the  religion  of  the  State 
and  his  partiality  for  the  cult  of  Bacchus,  coupled  with 
his  neglect  of  discipline,  his  condescension,  familiarity, 
and  joviality,  could  hardly  have  failed  to  warm  those 
Iiopes  of  restoring  the  Republic,  which  the  example  and 
writings  of  Brutus  and  Cicero  assure  us  were  deeply  im- 
planted in  the  minds  of  the  Roman  patricians.  Be  this  as 
it  may,  it  is  certain  that  upon  the  news  of  Nero's  death 
many  people,  adopting  for  the  emblem  of  their  hopes  the 
Phrygian  cap  of  Liber  Pater,  ran  wildly  through  the 
streets,  uttering  revolutionary  cries,  and  fomenting  an 
excitement  that  ended  by  involving  the  Senate  in  their 
design,  and  the  issuance  of  an  Act  proclaiming  a  Repub- 
lican Government.  Among  the  first  measures  of  the 
short-lived  administration  was  the  coinage  of  money,  de- 
signed to  announce  the  restoration.  It  was,  perhaps, 
unfortunate  for  these  patriots  that  they  began  by  striking 
gold,  this  being  essentially  a  prerogative  belonging  to  the 
pontifical  office,  and  one  whose  violation,  apart  from 
other  circumstances,  would  be  likely  of  itself  to  array 
against  them,  not  only  the  ecclesiastical  orders,  but  the 
prejudices  of  all  persons  of  religious  pretensions  or  of 
superstitious  tendencies. 

Besides  the  gold  coins,  there  were  struck  silver  and 

1  Nero,  56.  -  Otho,  12. 

EOME.  85 

bronze  ones,  and  so  numerous  were  they  that  nearly  an 
hundred  different  types  (not  merely  coins,  but  tj-pes  of 
coins)  are  still  extant.  All  these  must  have  been  struck 
between  June  9,  a.d.  68,  the  date  of  Nero's  death,  and 
July  18,  A.D.  69,  that  of  the  investiture  of  Vitellius  as 
sovereign-pontiff.  A  common  type  of  these  coins  was  a 
citizen  clad  in  a  toga,  with  a  cap  of  Liberty  on  his  head 
and  a  wreath  of  laurel  in  his  right  hand,  and  the  legend 
LIBERTATI.  Reverse  :  Victory  standing  on  a  globe,  with 
crown  and  palm,  and  the  legend  S,  P.  Q.  R.  Others  have 
the  legends  Concordia  provinciarum,  Concordia  pr^etoria- 
norum,  Fides  militum,  Roma  renascens,  Libertas,  Libertas 
populi  romaui,  Libertas  restituta,  Jupiter  Capitoliuus, 
Mars  ultor,  Volcanus  ultor,  Vesta  populi  romani  quiri 
tium,  etc.^ 

The  person  destined  to  destroy  the  ephemeral  Republic 
was  Ser.  Sulpicius  Galba,  a  member  of  the  Quindecem- 
viral  Sacred  College,  a  priest  of  the  Augustals  and  of  the 
Titii,  a  man  of  enormous  wealth,  who  never  travelled 
without  a  retinue  of  monks  and  soothsayers,  and  who, 
wherever  he  pitched  his  camp,  erected  an  altar,  swung  a 
censor,  and  offered  frankincense,  sacrificial  wine,  and 
costly  jewels  to  the  gods."  This  pious  Roman  enjoyed  a 
proconsulship  under  Xero  in  Hispania  Tarraconensis, 
where  he  appears  to  have  divided  his  leisure  between  the 
celebration  of  religious  ceremonies  and  the  organisation 
of  a  conspiracy  against  the  throne  of  his  benefactor. 
AVhen  this  conspiracy  was  ripe,  he  declared  it  to  be  a  holy 
war,  "  sacred  and  acceptable  to  the  gods."  Upon  hearing 
that  Nero  was  dead,  Galba  proclaimed  himself  the  Caesar, 
hung  a  dagger  from  his  neck,  as  a  token  of  his  bloody 
intentions,  and,  attended  by  his  legions  and  a  formidable 
body  of  Spanish  recruits,  made  his  way  to  Rome,  where 
an  accession  of  forces  had  been  organised  for  him  by  his 

1  "  Revue   Xumismatique,"    1862   and    1865 ;    Lenormant,    ii,    375 ;. 
Cohen,  "  Mon.  Eom." 

-  Suet.  "Galba,"  4,  8,  9,  18. 


ecclesiastical  friends.  Then  Gaiba's  dagger  came  into 
play.  In  the  course  of  a  few  days  the  Nymphidians,  as 
the  Republicans  were  called,  were  all  put  to  death  or 
driven  into  exile ;  the  statues  of  Bacchus  were  destroyed, 
the  Phrygian  caps  were  burnt,  the  power  of  the  sovereign- 
pontiif  was  re-established,  and  the  ill-starred  Republic 
■came  to  an  end. 

The  coinage  prerogative  of  the  Pontifex  Maximus  is 
made  the  subject  of  a  strange  argument  by  the  illustrious 
Mommsen.  We  must  premise  that  after  a  short  reign 
Galba  was  assassinated.  He  was  succeeded  by  Otho, 
"who,  because  he  declared  it  his  intention  to  restore  the 
Republic,  was  undoubtedly  supported  by  the  Nymphidians 
and  opposed  by  the  ecclesiastics.  The  latter  now  turned 
for  aid  to  Aulus  Vitellius.  This  person  was  the  great- 
grandson  of  Q.  Vitellius,  "  questor  to  Divus  Augustus," 
the  grandson  of  P.  Vitellius,  "  a  Roman  knight  and 
manager  of  Augustus^  affairs,"  and  the  son  of  Lucius 
Vitellius,  who  set  the  example  of  worshipping  Caligula 
as  the  living  God,  and  never  approached  him  without 
covering  his  head  with  a  veil,  turning  his  body,  as  was 
customary  in  Roman  worship,  and  falling  prostrate  upon 
the  ground.^  The  piety  of  his  ancestors  must  have 
descended  to  Aulus,  who  was  rewarded  with  numerous 
rich  ecclesiastical  benefices,  the  gift  of  three  successive 
princes,^  besides  the  lucrative  surveyorship  of  public 
buildings,  a  proconsulship  in  Africa,  and  another  in 
Germany.  This  last  office,  the  gift  of  Galba,  was  em- 
ployed by  Vitellius  as  a  means  to  secure  his  own  eleva- 
tion to  the  throne.  Indulgence,  bribery,  and  promises 
were  employed  with  success  to  win  the  legions  under  his 
command.  The  sword  of  Divus  Julius  was  taken  down 
out  of  the  temple  of  Mars  and  placed  in  the  hands  of 
the  ambitious  proconsul ;  the  soldiers  saluted  him  as 
Imperator  and  Augustus ;  and  a  wreath  of  laurel  ''  most 
religiously  begirt    his  brow."      Sending  a  powerful  army 

1  Vitellius,  5.  ^  Ibid. 

EOME.  87 

ahead  to  overtlirow  liis  rival,  he  began  his  march  to 
Rome.  On  the  way  he  was  informed  of  a  decisive  vic- 
tory at  Bebriacum  (now  Caveto)  and  of  the  death  of 
Otho.  Arrived  in  Rome,  Vitellius  was  soon  surrounded 
, by  "a  numerous  assembly  of  priests,"  who,  together 
^ith  the  faction  known  as  the  Yeneti,  appear  to  have 
formed  the  bulk  of  his  party  in  the  capital.  He  was 
invested  as  Pontifex  Maximus  on  the  ominous  anniver- 
sary of  the  battle  of  Allia,  and  after  a  brief  and  troubled 
reign  of  eight  months  was  assassinated.  The  previous 
reign  of  Otho  extended  from  the  death  of  Galba,  Jan- 
uary 15th  (a.d,  69),  to  his  own  death,  April  20th,  a  period 
•of  ninety-five  days.^ 

We  are  now  prepared  to  follow  Mommsen's  argument. 
The  investiture  of  the  high-priesthood  of  Rome,  after 
•an  ancient  custom,  could  only  be  conferred  during"  the 
month  of  March,  there  being  only  two  instances  to  the 
•contrary.  The  coinage  of  copper,  says  Mommsen,  was 
the  prerogative  of  the  high-priesthood.  Otho  was  invested 
with  the  pontificate  on  March  9th.  Within  five  days  of 
•this  date  he  was  on  his  way  to  meet  the  troops  of  Vitel- 
lius in  Lombardy.  Therefore,  he  had  not  sufficient  time 
to  confer  upon  the  Senate  the  necessary  authority  to 
strike  bronze  coins.  This,  in  Mommsen's  opinion,  ex- 
plains why,  although  there  are  gold  and  silver  coins  of 
•Otho,  there  are  no  bronze  ones,  except  such  as  were  struck 
in  Antioch,  and  these  he  accounts  for  on  the  supposition 
that  the  Antiochians,  when  they  heard  of  Galba's  death 
and  Others  elevation,  presumed  that  of  course  Otho  would 
be  invested  as  Pontifex  Maximus  in  March,  and,  there- 
fore, proceeded  at  once  to  strike  those  bronze  coins  with 
his  image,  which  stand  in  the  way  of  the  extraordinary 
iiheory  propounded  by  the  Prussian  savant. 

To  this  theory  it  would  be  sufiicient  to  reply  that  if  Otho 
had  time  to  authorise  the  issue  of  gold  and  silver  coins,  he 
'Certainly  had  time  to  authorise  the  issue  of  bronze  ones,  and 
^  Lenoi-mant  (ii,  416)  says  Apiil  l-5th. 


that  if  the  vassal  Senate  of  Antioch  could  venture  to  strike 
bronze  coins  without  Otho's  written  authority,  so  could  the 
paramount  Senate  of  Rome.  But  there  is  a  still  further  and 
more  cogent  reply  to  make.  Mommsen'  is  mistaken  in 
regard  to  the  coinage  prerogatives  of  Rome.  His  theoiy 
is  that  the  prerogative  of  the  gold  and  silver  coinage 
belonged  to  the  imperium  and  the  bronze  coinage  to  the 
pontificate.  The  fact  was  that  the  jjrerogative  of  gold 
coinage  (certainly  from  the  reign  of  Julius  Csesar)  be- 
longed to  the  pontificate.  This  is  so  overwhelmingly 
proved  by  the  evidence  adduced  in  chapter  YI  of  the 
present  work  that  nothing  further  need  be  said  on  the  sub- 
ject in  this  place.  In  the  sweeping  interdiction  of  gold 
coinage  to  vassal  and  subject  kings  which  the  Romans 
maintained  for  upwards  of  thirteen  centuries,  a  single 
exception  was  made.  This  related  to  the  kings  of  Pontus- 
and  the  Cimmerian  Bosporus.  The  reason  of  the  excep- 
tion was  purely  sacerdotal.  The  kings  of  Pontus  were 
the  guardians  of  the  temples,  the  oracle,  and  the  mysteries, 
of  that  venerated  Mother  of  God,  one  of  whose  eflSgies, 
piously  conveyed  to  Rome  when  Hannibal  was  at  its  gates,, 
had  saved  it  from  impending  ruin.  Many  of  the  emblems 
connectedwith  this  worship  appeared  upoii  thePontic  coins, 
and  this  is  what  saved  them  from  the  melting-pot.  Augustus 
merely  provided  that  these  coins  should  bear  on  the  reverse 
the  image  of  himself  as  a  mark  of  the  suzerainty  of  Rome. 
The  last  coins  that  were  issued  by  the  Ponto-Bosporiau 
kings  previous  to  this  regulation  are  those  of  Asander,  who 
reigned  as  governor  from  a.u.  704  and  as  king  from  a.u.  737. 
These  are  aurei  of  125  grains  each.  The  earliest  under  the 
Augustan  regulations  are  those  of  Polemon  I,  stamped 
with  his  own  head  on  one  side  and  that  of  Augustus  on 
the  other.  From  this  time  onward  to  the  reign  of  Galiien,. 
when  the  Temple  of  Ephesus  was  destroyed  by  the  Goths, 
the  kings  of  Pontus  and  Bosporus  were  permitted  to  strike 
a  few  gold  coins,  upon  one  side  of  which  appeared  their  own- 
images  and  on  the  other  that  of  the  sovereign-pontiff  of 

KOMB.  89 

Rome,  accompanied  by  the  emblems  of  the  Syrian  goddess. 
With  Rhescuporis  VIII,  of  the  Aspurgian  dynasty,  a.d. 
312—18,  this  Pontic  kingdom,  already  ruined,  came  to  an 
end,  and  with  it  the  feeble  series  of  gold  coins  struck  under 
these  exceptional  circumstances.  Under  Cotys  III,  a 
contemporary  of  Alexander  Severus,  tho  Ponto-Bosporian 
aurei  were  made  of  electrum,  and  from  this  time  onward 
they  became  paler  and  paler,  until  at  last  they  were  made 
altogether  of  silver,  and,  like  the  Dutch  gulden  of  tho 
present  day,  were  gold  coins  only  in  name. 

The  prerogative  of  the  bronze  coinage  belonged  to  the 
Senate,  which,  therefore,  in  the  case  of  Otho,  needed  no 
express  authority  from  the  pontificate.  Whether  the  silver 
coinage  belonged  to  the  pontificate  or  to  the  imperium  at 
this  period,  is  a  matter  of  no  consequence  in  the  present 
connection.  Of  the  gold  and  silver  coins,  the  former  were 
certainly  struck  in  virtue  of  Otho's  pontifical  authority. 
The  bronze  coins  of  Antioch  were  undoubtedly  struck  by 
the  Senate  of  that  city  in  virtue  of  the  authority  which 
had  long  previously  been  conferred  upon  it  by  the  Senate 
of  Rome — an  authority  which  remained  in  full  force  so 
long  as  it  was  not  abrogated.  That  no  Roman  urban 
bronze  coins  of  Otho  are  extant  may  be  accounted  for 
either  by  supposing  that  such  coins  were  indeed  struck 
but  that  none  have  been  found,  or  else  by  supposing  that 
the  Roman  Senate  had  good  reason  for  not  striking  them. 
In  the  latter  case  the  reason  is  matter  of  conjecture. 
The  Senate  was  republican  ;  it  was  disgusted  with 
emperor-worship  ;  it  had  but  recently  engaged  in  an 
attempt  to  restore  the  Republic  ;  its  surviving  members, 
who  had  returned  to  Rome,  encouraged  by  the  declaration 
of  Otho  that  his  object  was  to  restore  the  Republic,  may 
have  naturally  viewed  with  suspicion  his  subsequent 
a.-<sumption  of  the  pontifical  office  and  his  eagerness  to 
proclaim  a  continuance  of  the  Empire  upon  his  gold  and 
silver  coins,  and  they  may  have  refrained  from  lending 
that  sanction  to  these  ambitious  proceedings  which  would 


have  been  implied   had  they  stamped  bronze   coins  with 
his  image. 

The  following  tables  show  the  scale  of  equivalents  under 
"Caracalla  : — 

First  coinage  system  of  Caracalla,  a.d.  211-15.     Ratio  of  silver 
to  gold  12  for  1. 

4  sesterces  =  1  silver  denarius,  of  54  grains. 
12^  denarii  =  1  half-aureus. 

25  denarii    =  1  aureus  of  112'5  grains. 

5  aurei        =  1  libra. 

Hence  500  sesterces  =  1  libra. 

So  far  as  it  goes,  this  agrees  with  Mr.  Finlay's  scheme.^ 
In  addition  to  these  equivalents  he  introduces  a  silver 
ai"geuteus  of  GO  to  the  libi'a  weight,  valued  at  1^  denarii. 
Between  this  system  and  the  one  next  to  be  mentioned 
the  change  in  the  contents  of  the  pieces  was  gradual. 

Second  coinage  sijstem  of  Caracalla,  a.d.  215-17.     Ratio  of  silver 
to  gold  12  for  1. 

4  sesterces  =  1  denarius,  of  45"83  grains. 
6  denarii    ■=■  1  gold  sicilicus,  or  shilling. 

12  denarii     =  1  half-aureus. 

24  denarii    =  1  aureus,  of  100  grains,  \\  fine  =  91"67  grains  fine. 

5  aurei        :=  1  libra. 

Hence  480  sesterces  =  1  libra. 

This  system  of  Caracalla  contains  all  the  elements  of 
the  decimo-duodecimal,  or  £.  s.  d.  system,  which  after- 
wards became  established  in  the  Roman  provinces,  and 
still  lingers  in  England  and  Turkey.  The  libra,  which 
here  contains  458'35  grains  fine  gold,  has  since  been 
gradually  reduced,  until,  at  the  present  time,  it  contains 
in  England  but  113'16  grains  fine,j while  the  denarius,  or 
penny,  which  here  contains  nearly  46  grains,  has  fallen 
in  England  to  7j  grains,  such  being  the  weight  of  the 
Maundy  money  still  issued.  The  relation  of  copper  to 
silver  and   of  silver  to  gold  varied  from  decimal  (during 

1  Geo.  Finlay,  "  Hist.  Greece,"  ed.  1877,  i,  453. 

ROME.  91 

the  Republic)  to  duodecimal  (duriug  the  Empire), but  from 
first  to  last,  with  two  exceptions  noticed  herein,  the 
relation  between  aureus  and  libra  was  quinquennial. 

We  have  seen  that  the  extension  of  Eoman  citizenship 
to  the  free-born  inhabitants  of  Italy  Avas  marked  by  an 
important  change  in  the  monetary  system.  So  was  the 
extension  of  the  same  right  to  the  free-born  inhabitants 
■of  the  provinces,  which  bears  even  date  with  the  second 
■coinage  system  of  Caracalla.  The  tyrant^s  motive  for 
making^  this  concession  was  an  increase  of  revenues. 
One  of  its  fruits  was  to  plant  the  £  6\  d.  system  wherever 
the  Roman  eagles  flew. 

The  argenteus,  or,  as  it  was  sometimes  called,  the 
argenteus  antonianus,  of  Caracalla  was  a  silver  coin 
stamped  with  the  rayed  eflBgy  of  the  sovereign-pontiff, 
that  is  to  say,  he  was  represented  surrounded  with  a  halo 
of  light.  In  the  second  coinage  system  of  Caracalla  this 
coin  appears  to  have  been  substituted  for  two  denarii. 
Thus,  the  equivalents  appear  to  be  12  argentei,  contain- 
ing 1,020  grains  of  silver  =  1  aureus,  containing  91*67 
grains  of  gold,  a  ratio  of  about  ll'l  for  1.  But,  in  fact, 
the  argenteus  antonianus  does  not  appear  to  have  been 
•a  full  legal  tender  coin,  and  when  paid  for  taxes  (due  in 
gold  aurei)  it  was  only  receivable  by  weight.  The  ratio 
of  J  2  for  1,  therefore,  remained  unimpaired. 

The  monetary  measures  of  Aurelian  are  remarkable 
for  the  revolt  which  they  occasioned  among  the  guild  of 
moneyers,  who,  for  this  reason,  must  be  supposed  to  have 
•derived  considerable  profits  from  the  previous  system. 
Aurelian  "  took  away  the  privilege  of  coining  (silver) 
money  from  almost  all  the  local  mints  of  the  empire," 
and  only  succeeded  in  crushing  the  revolt  of  the  moneyers 
with  a  loss  of  7,000  troops — a  striking  proof  of  the 
number  and  organisation  of  the  former.  ^Ir.  Finlay 
regards  the  Roman  libra  weight,  at  the  time  of  Con- 
stantino, as  having  fallen  to  5,040  English  grains,  and 
•says  that  Aurelian  struck  aurei  of  50  to  the  libra.      This 


•would  make  them  contain  100" 8  grains  each  ;  but,  in 
fact,  there  are  none  which  contain  so  much  gold. 
Throughout  the  present  work  the  libra  weight  of  Roma 
has  been  uniformly  reckoned  at  5,250  grains  ;  but  as  "we 
have  always  been  guided  by  the  weights  of  the  extant 
coins,  the  difference  between  this  assumption  and  Mr. 
Finlay's  does  not  affect  the  -weights  herein  mentioned. 
The  extant  aurei  of  Aurelian  weigh  from  80'85  to  97"52 
grains.  Supposing  them  to  be  -f4-  fine,  they  contain 
about  74  to  90  grains  fine  gold.  The  equivalents  are 
shown  in  the  following  tables  : 

First  coinage  system  of  Aurelian,  a.d.  270.     Eatio  of  silver 
to  gold  12  for  I. 

5  uummi,  or  minuta  =  1  copper  assarion. 

4  assarions  :=  1  copper  denarius,  stamped  "XX." 

20  denarii  =  1  silver  argenteiis,  35|  gi-ains  fine. 
25  argentei                    =  1  gold  aureus,  74  grains  fine. 

5  aurei  :=  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  bOO  copper  denarii  ^  1  gold  aureus. 

Second  coinage  systevi  of  Aurelian,  a.b.  274.     Ratio  of  silver 
to  gold  12  for  1. 

5 J  copper  nummi  :=  1  copper  assarion. 

4  assarions  =  1  copper  denarius,  stamped  "  XXI." 

21  denarii  ^  1  silver  argenteus  (new),  45  grains  fine. 
24  argentei  =  1  gold  aureus,  90  grains  fine. 

5  aurei  =■  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  504  copper  denarii  =  1  gold  aureus. 

Mr.  Fiulay  introduces  into  this  system  a  "  denarius  of 
account  "  equal  to  1  argenteus.  This  was  probably  a  purse 
of  20  to  21  copper  denarii,  used  as  a  means  of  recon- 
ciling the  two  coinages  of  Aurelian.  This  would  enable  all 
sums  couched  in  denarii  to  be  reckoned  at  the  rate  of 
either  20  to  the  old  argenteus,  or  21  to  the  new.  Mr. 
Finlay's  conjecture  with  regard  to  the  number  of 
English  grains  in  the  libra  weight  appears  to  have  been 
derived  from  the  number  of  copper  deiuirii  to  the  aureus,, 

HOMR.  93 

First  coinage  system  of  Diocletian,  a.d.  28i.     Ratio  of  silver 

to  gold  12  for  l{F'm\&v). 
5  copper  nummi     =  1  copper  assarion. 
2i  double  nummi  =  1  copper  assarion. 

4  assarions  =  1  copper  denarius, 
2  copper  denarii     :=  1  copper  follis. 

12  foUes  =  1  silver  denarius,  45'17  grains  standard. 

24  silver  denarii       =  1  aureus,  90"34  grains  standard. 

5  aurei  =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  576  copper  denarii  =  1  gold  aureus. 

The  silver  denarius  of  this  system  -was  afterwards 
called  the  '' centenionalis,"  because,  instead  of  120  to  the 
libra,  as  in  this  system,  they. became  worth  100  to  the 
libra.      See  below. 

Second  coinage  system  of  Diocletian,  a.d.  290  (?).     Eatio  of  silver 
to  gold  12  for  1. 

4  copper  assarions  ^  1  tetrassarion,  or  copper  denarius. 
2  copper  denarii      :=  1  copper  follis. 

12  folles  =  1  silver  denarius,  40  grains,  '•XCVI." 

"24  silver  denarii       :=  1  aureus,  80  grains  standard. 

5  aurei  =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  576  copper  denarii  =  1  gold  aureus. 

Third  coinage  system  of  Diocletian,  a.d.  302.     Eatio  of  silver 
to  gold  12  for  1. 

4  copper  assarions  =  1  tetrassarion,  or  copper  denarius. 
2  copper  denarii     =  1  copper  follis. 

8  copper  assarions  =  1  copper  follis. 
12  copper  folles       =  1  silver  denarius,  36  grains,  "  XCVI." 
24  silver  denarii      =  1  aureus  72  grains. 

5  aurei  =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  576  copper  denarii  =  1  gold  aureus. 

Count  Borghesi  considers  the  denarius  of  Diocletian's 
Edictum  pretmm  to  be  the  copper  tetrassarion  or  four- 
assarion  piece,  of  which  24  went  to  the  silver  denarius, 
stamped  "XCVI,"  meaning  96  assarions. 

If  we  compare  this  system  with  the  assumptions  of 
Jacob,^    it    will    be     found   that,    erroneously    assuming 

1  "  Hist.  Prec.  Met.,"  ed.  Phil.  1832,  p.  126. 


the  denarius  to  weigh  65  grains  fine,  and  that,  still 
further,  assuming  a  wrong  equivalent  in  the  money  of 
his  own  time,  he  deduced  unwarrantably  high  prices  for 
the  whole  of  Diocletian's  schedule.  | 

First  coinage  system  of  Constantine,  not  later  than  a.d.  310. 
Ratio  of  silver  to  gold  12  for  1. 
20  copper  nummi  =  1  copper  foUis.  I 

12  copper  folles     =  1  silver  denarius,  36  grains  fine.  I 

24  silver  denarii   =  1  gold  aureus,  82'7  grs.  standard,  say  72  gi-s.  fine.    1 
5  aiirei  =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  5760  copper  nummi  =  1  gold  aureus. 

Nine  well-preserved  specimens  of  the  earlier  aurei  of 
Constantine,  now  in  the  British  Museum,  weigh  on  the 
average  82  7  grains. 

Second  coinage  system  under  Constantine,  July,  a.d.  325. 
Ratio  of  silver  to  gold  12  for  1} 
20  copper  nummi  =  1  copper  follis. 

12  folles  =  1  silver  siliqua,  keration,  or  denarius,  35  grains. 

2  siliquas  =  1  silver  miliaresion,  70  grains. 

12  miliaresia  :=  1  gold  solidus,  or  uumisma,  stamped   "LXXII," 

70  grains. 
5  solidi  ^  1  libra  of  account,  350  grains  of  standard  gold. 

Hence  5760  copper  nummi  =  1  gold  aureus. 

Type  of  the  aureus  :  a  winged  figure  with  P  ;  reverse, 
the  head  of  Constantine. 

These  solidi  are  stamped  "  LXXII,"  and,  according  to 
Gribbon,  Queipo,  Finlay,  and  other  writers,  were  struck 
72  to  the  Eoman  pound  weight.  The  extant  coins,  in  the 
best  state  of  preservation,  only  weigh  QQ^  grains,  and 
I  have  allowed  1^  grains  more  to  bring  them  to  a  round 
figure  of  70  grains.  They  could  hardly  have  weighed 
more  at  any  time.  The  extant  miliaresia  are  of  the  same 
weight  as  the  solidi.  The  copper  follis,  or  purse,  con- 
sisted   of   20    nummi ;   the  silver  follis    of   2|    argyres,  or 

^  Gibbon  (Misc.  Essays,  iii,  459,  ed.  1815)  says  14"4,  but  is  mistaken. 
Consult  Queipo,  "  Sys.  Met.  et  Mou.,"  ii,  465  ;  Finlay,  "  Hist  Greece," 
vol.  i,  App.  ii. 

ROME.  95. 

2oO  siliquas,  keratious,  or  denarii,  or  125  miliaresia.  This 
was  the  ordinary  donative  to  the  soldiers  ;  it  was  equal 
to  (about)  two  libras  of  account.  By  a  law  of  a.d.  356,^ 
a  merchant  is  forbidden  to  travel  with  more  than  one 
thousand  folles.  This  means  silver  folles,  one  thousand 
of  which  were  roughly  equal  to  two  thousand  libras  ot 
account.  The  gleba  senatoria,  a  sum  of  gold  coins,  was 
the  annual  capitation-tax  of  that  order. 

Coinage  system  under  Arcadhis  and  Honorius,  a.d.  408  (?).     Ratio 
of  silver  to  gold  12  for  1. 

20  copper  nummi     =  1  copper  follis. 

12  copper  folles        =  1  silver  siliqua,  35  grains  standard. 

2  siliquas  =  1  silver  miliaresion  de  sportula,  70  grs.  standards 

12  miliar,  de  sport.  =  1  gold  solidus,  70  grains  standard. 

4  solidi  =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  5760  nummi  =:  1  gold  solidus. 

So  far  as  the  copper  coins  are  concerned,  this  system 
is  constructed  by  assuming  that  there  were  20  nummi  to 
the  follis  and  12  folles  to  the  silver  siliqua,  as  in  the 
second  system  of  Constantine.  A  law  of  Arcadius  and 
Honorius  (a.d.  SO?)"^  values  the  gold  solidus  at  12 
miliaresia  de  sportula,  w^hilst  a  law  of  Theodosius  II, 
(a.d.  428)^  values  the  solidus  at  24  siliquas.  Another 
law  of  Theodosius  II  (a.d.  422)  values  the  libra  at  4 
solidi,  instead  of  5,  as  before.^  An  edict  of  Hono- 
rious  and  Theodosius  II,  dated  a.d.  418,  imposes  a  mulct 
of  5  libras  of  gold  upon  the  members  of  the  provincial 
council  of  Gaul  for  non-attendance  at  meetings.^ 
This  evidently  means  20  solidi.  To  regai'd  these  libras, 
as  some  writers  have  done,  as  so  many  pounds'  weight  of 
gold  would  not  only  be   contrary   to   usage,  but  prepos- 

1  Cod.  Theod.  is,  23,  1. 

-  Cod.  Theod.,  xiii,  ii,  1. 

^  Cod.  Theod.,  xii,  iv,  1 ;  Nov.  Majoriani,  vii,  16  (a.d.  458). 

■»  Cod.  Theod.  viii,  iv,  27. 

*  "  Middle  Ages  Eevisited,"  chap,  xvi,  p.  2. 


terously  excessive.  The  weight  of  the  solidus  in  the 
above  table  was  obtained  by  weighing  a  number  of  the 
best  specimens  of  the  extant  coins.  Those  of  Arcadius 
average  68*51  grains  ;  of  Honorius,  68*05  grains.  A 
slight  allowance  for  wear  brings  them  up  to  70  grains. 
Fineness  not  known,  but  apparently   -^  to  -^. 

By  a  law  of  Yalentinian  III  (a.d.  4-45)/  there  were 
7200  nummi  to  the  solidus,  consequently  there  must  have 
been  issued  a  smaller  nummus  than  that  of  Arcadius  and 
Honorius.  Of  these  smaller  nummi  there  should  be  25  to 
the  follis ;  thus  25x12x2x12  =  7200  nummi  to  the 
solidus."  Cassiordorus  says  there  were  6000  to  the 
soliduSj  but  I  cannot  make  this  out,  unless  Valentiniau 
changed  the  tale  relations  of  the  copper  to  the  silver  coins, 
or  the  silver  to  the  gold  coins,  of  which  no  explicit  account 
appears  in  the  texts.  As  at  this  period  copper  coins  lai'gelv 
superseded  silver  ones  in  the  imperial  circulation,  such 
-changes  are  by  no  means  incredible.^ 

Coinage  system  under  Anastasuis,  a.d.  491-518.     Batio 
of  silver  to  gold  12  for  1. 

5  noumia  "  A  "  =  1  pentanoumion,  "  C." 
2  pentaiioumia  =  1  dekanoumion,  "I." 

2  dekanoumia  =  1  eikosarion  or  obolus,  "  K." 

2  eikosaria  =  1  follis,  either  copper  "  31  "  or  silver  (.5'83  grs.). 

6  folles  =  1  silver  keration,  or  siliqua,  35  gi-ains.'* 
2  keratia  =  1  silver  miliai-esion,  70  grains. 

12  miliaresia        =  1  gold  solidus,  or  nummus,  70  grains. 
5  (?)  solidi         =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  5760  noumia  :=  1  gold  solidus. 

^  Xov.  Val.,  iii,  de  pretio  solidus,  xiv,  1. 

"  Finlav,  i,  444. 

3  Ibid.' 

•*  In  this  coinage  system  o£  Anastasius,  I  have  followed  Mr.  Finlay. 
Sabatier  (i,  149)  savs  that  in  498  Anastasius  made  12  phollerates,  or 
teruntiani,  to  the  siliqua,  of  which  last  there  were  24  to  the  solidus.  If 
by  phollerates  he  means  eikosaria,  or  copper  oboli,  then  the  system  re- 
mained the  same  as  shown  in  the  present  test. 

ROME.  97 

The  letters  A,  C,  I,  K,  M  are  stamped  on  the  copper 
coins,  and  denote  1,  5,  10,  20,  40  noumia  respectively.^ 
These  marks  continued  until  the  time  of  Phocas,  when 
the  Greek  M  was  replaced  (on  the  40-noumia  piece)  by 
the  Latin  XXXX." 

Coinage  systevi  under  Heraclius  I,  a.d.  610-41.     Ratio  of  silver 
to  gold  12  for  1. 

4(3  copper  noumia  =  1  copper  follis. 
6  folles  =  1  silver  siliqua,  34"17  grains  standard. 

12  folles  =  1  silver  drachma,  68"34  grains  standard. 

12  drachmas  =  1  gold  solidus,  69'90  grains  standard. 

5  (.'')  solidi  :=  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  5760  noumia  =  1  gold  solidus. 

The  weight  of  the  solidus  in  this  system  is  that  of  the 
extant  coins  in  the  best  state  of  preservation.  The  legal 
weight  may  have  been  a  grain  more.  The  contents  of 
fine  gold  in  the  solidus  was  65  grains,  and  the  fine  silver 
contents  of  the  siliqua  32 1  grains.  It  was  upon  the  solidus 
of  this  system  that  the  Arabians  built  their  gold  dinar.  They 
evidently  weighed  and  assayed  a  number  of  the  solidi  in 
actual  circulation,  and  finding  them  to  contain  exactly  65 
grains  of  fine  gold,  determined  this  for  the  contents  of  the 
dinar.     In  their  earlier  coinages  they  also  adopted  the  silver 

i  drachma  of  65  grains  fine  and  the  Roman  ratio  of  12  for  1  ; 

'  but  this  was  swept  away  by  Abd-el-Melik,  and  from  his 
time  forward  nothing  except  the  dinar  remained  to  con- 
nect the  Moslem  coinages  with  the  Empire  of  Augustus. 

Coinage  system  tinder  Justinian  II  (Bhinotmetus),  a.d.  685-95, 

and  again  705-11.     Ratio  of  silver  to  gold  12  for  1. 
4.0  copper  noumia  =:  1  copper  follis. 

6  folles  =:  1  silver  siliqua,  34"17  grains  standard. 
24  siliquas  =  1  gold  solidus,  68'35  grains  standard. 

5  (?)  solidi  =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  5760  noumia  =  1  gold  solidus. 

On  this   coinage    appears  the   earliest  unquestionable 

^  Finlay,  i,  445.  -  Humphreys,  371. 



Christian  legend  and  the  earliest  effigy  of  Christ.  These 
sacred  emblems  appear  on  the  gold  solidus,  described  by 
Sabatier :  dN.  IVSTINIANYS.  SERY.  ChPSTI.  Full- 
faced  bust  of  Justinian,  diademed,  with  cross  on  top,  the 
emperor  clothed  in  a  tight-fitting  robe,  ornamented  with 
strings  of  pearls  arranged  in  squares.  In  his  right 
hand  a  "  potency ''  cross  on  three  steps ;  in  his  left 
hand  a  globe,  on  which  appears  the  word  ''  PAX,"  the  same 
surmounted  by  a  Greek  cross.  Reverse  :  dX.  Ihs.  ChS. 
EEX  REGNANTIVM.  Full-faced  bust  of  Christ.  The  ex- 
tremities of  the  arms  of  a  small  cross  appear  behind 
the  ears  and  above  the  head.  Under  the  left  arm  a  book. 
There  are  so  few  coins  extant  of  this  period  that,  between 
the  reigns  of  Leo  Isaurusand  Michael  I,  or  from  a.d.  718 
to  811,  Sabatier,  whose  woi'k  is  believed  to  contain  a 
complete  list  of  all  the  Byzantine  types,  only  furnishes 
seventy-three  types  during  the  entire  interval.  As  this  is 
an  interval  of  the  greatest  interest  to  the  Western  world, 
because  it  embraces  the  coinage  system  of  Charlemagne, 
we  have  endeavoured  to  fill  the  blank  thus  left  with  the 
system  of  Xicephorus  I.  In  the  table  of  equivalents  we 
have  been  guided  by  Sabatier  and  the  mediaeval  texts  cited 
in  Guerard's  ''  Polyptique  d'Irminon  "  and  De  Vienne's 
*'  Livre  d' Argent."  Queipo  has  noticed  that  the  silver 
coins  of  Basileus  II  (a.d.  962),  Romanus  I  (a.d.  918), 
Nicephorus  II  (a.d.  963-9),  and  the  emperors  of  Tre- 
bizond  are  assimilated  in  weight  to  the  Arabian  dirhem 
or  its  subdivisions.^  In  like  manner,  it  is  to  be  remai'ked 
that  the  gold  coins  of  all  the  Byzantine  emperors,  from 
Heraclius  onward,  are  closely  allied  to  the  Ai-abian  dinar 
of  65  grains  fine.  This  remark  includes  the  coins  of  Nice- 
phorus I. 

1  Table  Ixi,  vol.  ii,  p.  464, 


Coinage  system  of  Nicejyhorus  I  [Logothetes),  son  of  Irene, 

A.D.  8(»2-ll.     Bntio  of  silver  to  gold  12  for  1. 
3  copper  folles  =  1  silver  half-siliqua,  15-|  grains  fine. 
2  half-siliquas  =  1  silver  siliqua,  31-|  grains  fine. 
1^  siliquas         =  1  Arabian  dirhem,  46|-  grains  fine. 

2  siliquas  =  1  miliaresion,  63i  grains  fine. 

3  miliaresia       =  1  gold  tetarteron,  or  sicilicus,  lo|-  grains  fine. 

4  miliaresia       =  1  gold  triens,  21^  grains  fine. 
12  miliaresia       :=  1  gold  solidiis,  63i  grains  fine. 

0  solidi  =  1  libra  of  account,  317i  grains  fine. 

Hence  12  half-siliquas,  or  denarii  =  1  sicilicus,  or  tetarteron. 
20  sicilici,  or  sbillings         =  1  libra. 
24(!)  denarii,  or  pennies  =  1  libra. 

The     tetarteron,    or     gold   slnlliug,     appears    in    both 

■  earlier  and    latter   coinage    systems,    for  example,  in  the 
[monetary   denominations    of  Nicephorus     II   and  Phocas. 

Tetarteron  means  the  fourth  part,  and  is  the  Greek 
equivalent  of  the  Latin  qiiartarius,  as  quartarius  vini, 
Avlience  our  quart  of  wine,  meaning  the  quarter  of  a 
gallon.  Tetarteron  is  also  the  equivalent  of  the  Latin 
sicilicus,  or  fourth  part,  whence  came  our  shilling,  which 
was  the  fourth  of  the  solidus  and  twentieth  of  the  libra,  as 
it  is  still.  Gold  shillings  or  quarter-solidi  were  struck  by 
many  of  the  Eoman  sovereigns,  and  are  not  uncommon 
in  the  great  numismatic  collections.  In  the  same  sense 
that  sicilicus  was  issued  for  the  fourth  of  the  aureus, 
scrupulum  was  anciently  used  for  the  ninth  and  after- 
wards  the  tenth  of  the  aureus. 

The    solidus   of  the   above    system  is   taken  from  the 

unique   specimens   extant  attributed  to   Irene   and  Nice- 

.:  phorus,  both    of   which   are  described    and  portrayed  by 

Sabatier.        The    former    has   simply  "  Irene,    Basileus,^^ 

■  with   her    bust   and   a    cross     on   both    sides ;   the   latter 
has   "  Nicephorus    Basileus,"    with  his  bust   on  one  side, 

[  and  "  IhSuS.  XRISTVS.  uICA,"  with  a  potency  cross  on 
the  other.    Nike,  Nika,  Nica,  etc.,  means  the  Victor  or  Yic- 

■  torious,  and  it  appears  in  the  name  of  Nicephorus  himself. 

1  Livy,  V,  47. 


Coinage  system  under  Basil  I,  a.d.  867-86.     Ratio  of  silver 
to  gold  12  for  1. 

20  noumia  ^  1  eikosavion. 

2  eikosaria,  or  oboli  =  1  copper  folHs. 

6  foUes  =  1  silver  keration,  or  siliqua,  gross  weight  41'46 

=  34  grains  standard.^ 

2  siliquas  =  1  miliaresion,  68  grains  standard. 

12  miliaresia  =  1  gold  solidus,  68  grains  standard. 

5  solidi  =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  5760  noumia  =  1  gold  solidus. 

Coinage  system  under  Basil  II  and  Constantine  VIII, 
A.D,  976-1025.     Ratio  of  silver  to  gold  12  for  1. 

20  noumia  =  1  obolus. 

2  oboli  =:  1  copper  foUis, 

6  folles  =  1  silver  siliqua,  41'5  grains  gross,  or  34  grains  standard. 
2  siliquas  =  1  miliaresion,  68  grains  standard. 

12  miliaresia  =  1  gold  solidus,  68  grains  standard. 
5  solidi  =  1  libra  of  account. 

Hence  5760  noumia  =  1  gold  solidus. 

It  will  scarcely  fail  to  be  remarked  that  the  number 
of  noumia  to  the  solidus  exactly  corresponds  to  the 
number  of  grains  in  the  troy  pound  of  the  Western 
world — a  circumstance  that,  remembering-  the  common 
practice  of  the  Eomans  to  apply  their  subdivisions  of 
money  to  measures  of  various  kinds,  suggests  the  origin 
of  the  troy  pound  weight.  It  has  been  the  common 
method  of  metrologists  to  seek  for  the  origin  of  moneys 
in  weights.  The  present  example,  and  many  others  men- 
tioned in  my  "  Middle  Ages  Revisited/^  leads  to  the 
belief  that  the  converse  is  the  fact,  and  that  the  origin 
of  weights  is  to  be  found  in  mone3^s.  In  other  words, 
that  the  first  weights  were  coins,  and  that  weights  de- 
scended from  coins,  rather  than  coins  from  weights.  This 
consideration,  should  it  hold  good,  would  vitiate  a  large 
portion  of  the  laborious  metrological  work  of  Boeckh, 
Mommsen,  Queipo,  and  others. 

With  the  system   of  Basil    II    ends  our  review  of  the 

1  This  means  when  reduced  to  the  same  standard  as  the  gold  coins. 

ROME.  101 

coinages  of  tlie  Eoinan  Empire,  because,  from   his    reign 
to    the    fall   of   Constantinople,   they   underwent   no    im- 
portant changes ;   indeed,    according  to  Finlay,    none   at 
all.      The  aureus  of  the    succeeding   Basilei   varied   from 
68  grains,  in  the  reign  of   Constantine   Porphyi'ogenitus, 
to  65   grains  in  that  of  John    Comnenus,  and   rose  again 
in  that  of  Eudoxiato  68  grains,  where  it  remained  to  the 
I  end  ;  while   the  denarius,  siliqua,  or  ai'genteus,  of  which 
i  24    went   to  the  aureus,    was    coined   at  just    half  these 
!'  weights,    thus    always    maintaining   the   sacerdotal   ratio 
of  12  silver  to  1  gold.      Even  after  the   Empire  fell  and 
the  Western  States,  as  Venice,  Florence,  Amalfi,  Aragon, 
i  etc.,  began  to  coin   gold,  they  maintained   the  same    ratio 
i  of   12   to  1  in  their   coinages,  until  this  ratio   came  into 
■  conflict   with    the    Moorish    ratios    in  Andalusia  and   the 
I  Oothic  ratios  of  the  Baltic  and  Low  Countries. 

This  review  would  be  incomplete  witliout  some  refer- 
I  -ence  to  the  Western  coinage  systems  that  grew  out  of 
;  those  of  the  Byzantine  Empire,  and  especially  the  systems 
of  the  Meringovinian  and  Carlovingian  dynasties.  As  a 
rule,  political,  ecouomists  of  the  present  day  do  not  take 
;  the  trouble  to  study  the  history  of  money  ;  it  is  much 
easier  to  imagine  it  and  to  deduce  the  principles  of  this 
imao'inarv  knowledge.  Therefore  but  little  information 
of  a  reliable  character  relating  to  this  subject  appears  in 
their  works.  One  of  the  most  experienced,  and  yet  the 
most  recent  writers  of  this  class,  repeats  the  idle  tale  to 
be  found  in  many  economical  works,  that  Charlemagne 
invented  the  £  s.  d.  system  still  used  in  England.-^ 
In  fact,  Chai'lemagne  neither  invented  the  system  nor 
struck  the  coins  requisite  to  complete  it.  The  libra  was 
a  money  of  account,  the  solidus  he  never  struck  ;  his 
coinage  began  and  ended  with  the  denai-ius,  which  formed 
merely  the  tail  end  of  a  system  whose  beginning  belonged 
to  a  remote  antiquity,  and  whose  principal  elements  were 
still  firmly  held  in  the  grasp  of  the  Basileus. 

^  Mr.  Henry  Dunning  MacLeod's  "  Bi-Metallism,"  London,  1894. 


Tlie  prei'ogative  and  monopoly  of  the  gold  coinage, 
except  as  to  the  Ponto-Bosporian  guardians  of  the  Asian 
temples  and  mysteries  of  Greek  and  Roman  veneration, 
was  never  parted  with,  to  subject-kings  and  vassal  states, 
by  the  sovereign-pontiff  of  Eome.  Even  the  Eoman 
proconsuls,  illustrious  and  powerful  as  were  many  of  these 
officers,  were  not  permitted  to  exercise  this  right  until  it 
was  reluctantly  conceded  by  Anastasius  I  to  Clovis,  the 
Merovingian  king  of  the  Franks,  and  Amalric,  king  of  the 
Visigoths  of  Spain,  both  of  whom  were  procousuls  of  Rome. 

In  his  earlier  coinages,  Clovis  (a.d.  481—512)  appears 
to  have  adopted  a  ratio  of  8  silver  for  1  gold — a  con- 
venient mean  between  the  Roman  ratio  of  12  and  the 
Indian  ratios  of  6^  to  6^,  which,  even  at  that  early  period, 
must  have  exercised  an  influence  upon  the  trade  of  the 
Baltic.^      In  his  later  coinages  the  ratio  was  10  for  1. 

The  principal  coins  of  Clovis  were  the  solidus  and 
triente,  both  of  excellent  gold,  and  both  stamped  with 
the  effigy  of  Anastasius.  Clovis  also  coined  silver  denarii, 
but  at  what  tale  relation  to  the  gold  coins  is  uncertain. 
The  marks  of  Roman  suzerainty  which  he  placed  upon 
his  coins  Avere  repeated  on  those  of  his  successors,  Clo- 
domir,  Childebert  I,  and  Clothaire  I.  At  a  later  period 
the  coinage  of  copper  was  added  to  that  of  gold  and 
silver,  and  the  marks  of  suzerainty  were  sometimes  limited 
to  the  gold  coins,  until  in  the  middle  coinages  of  Theode- 
bert,  king  of  Austrasia  (a.d.  534—47),  they  disappeared 
altogether,  and  in  their  place  stood  the  effigy  of  the- 
barbarian  king  and  the  legend  D.  N.  THEODEBERTYS. 
This,  of  course,  was  a  proclamation  of  defiance  to  the 
Basileus,  and  as  such  it  was  resented  by  Justinian  and 
recorded  bv  Procopius.^  NotAvitbstanding  the  decrepitude- 
of  the  Empire,  its  prestige  was  still  so  great,  and  venera- 
tion  for    its    sacerdotal    claims    so   widespread,  that    the- 

'  "  Ancient  Bntain,"  index  word,  '"  Pagan  Hansa." 
"^  Lenormant,  ii,  449.  '  Procop.  "Bell.  Goth.,"  iii,  33. 

EOME.  103 

example  of  Theodebert  was  avoided  by  his  coutemporaries, 
wlio  refrained,  with  superstitious  horror,  from  the  impiety 
of  striking  gold  without  the  authority  of  the  Basileus. 
Yet  Theodebert's  revolt  was  not  altogether  without  its 
influence.  Little  by  little  the  marks  of  Byzantine 
suzerainty  upon  their  rude  coinages  became  fainter,  and 
by  the  seventh  century  the  Merovingian  coins  and 
monetary  regulations  gave  evidence  of  little  more  than  a 
trace  of  Roman  suzerainty.  The  following  table  of 
weights  and  valuations  is  derived  from  the  coins  and  texts 
cited  by  Guerard,  Leuormant,  De  Vienn^;,  and  others  : 

Typical  coinage  system  of  the  Merovingian  kings  during  the 
seventh  century.     Ratio  of  silver  to  gold  10 /or  1. 

12  (.^)  copper  oboli  =:  1  silver  denarius,  ITs  grains. 
10  denarii  =  1  gold  sicilicns,  17i  grains. 

13-|  denarii  =:  1  gold  triente,  23^  grains. 

40  denarii  =  1  gold  solidus,  or  coronatus,  7Q\  grains. 

5  solidi  =  1  libra  of  account. 

It  was  to  these  coronati  that  Pope  Gregory  referred 
when  he  said  that  they  Avould  not  pass  in  Italy. ^ 

The  Empire  of  Gaul  lost  by  Byzantium  was  soon 
recovered  by  Eome.  An  alliance  with  Pepin  the  Short 
ended  the  Merovingian  dynasty,  established  the  temporal 
power  of  the  Roman  bishops,  and  erected  the  dynasty  of 
the  Carlovingians.  The  coinage  regulations,  however, 
still  continued  subject  to  the  Basileus,  and  doubtless 
formed  part  of  that  definitive  ti-eaty  of  partition  which 
was  made  between  Xicephorus  I  and  Charlemagne  at 
Seltz  in  802  or  803."'  Under  this  treaty  it  would  seem 
that  the  coinage  of  gold  was  expressly  reserved  to  the 
Basileus  and  of  copper  to  the  Byzantine  Senate  ;  for  as 
a  matter  of  fact  from  the  accession  of  Charlemagne  to  the 
downfall  of  the  Byzantine  Empire  in  1204,  neither  gold 
nor  copper  coins,  but  only  silver  ones,  were  struck  by  any 

1  Freheri,  39. 

*  Authorities  differ  as  to  this  date.  Consult    "Middle  Ages  Revisited." 


Christian  prince  except  the  Basileus.  The  ratio  of  silver 
to  gold,  which  the  Merovingiaos  had  fixed  at  10  for  1,  was 
gradually  changed  by  Charlemagne  to  the  sacerdotal  ratio 
of  12.  It  is  this  change  of  ratio  which  explains  the 
frequently-altered  weights  of  Charlemagne's  denarii,  and 
his  tale  relations  of  the  Byzantine  sou  d'or,  or  gold 
sicilicus  (shilling)  to  the  libra  of  account. 

Carlovingian  coinage  system  tinder  Pepin,  a.d.  754.     Ratio  of 
silver  to  gold  10  for  1. 

10  silver  denarii,  17i  grains  (?)  =  1  petite  sou  cl'or,  17§  grains  (?) 
22  sous  d'or  =  1  livre  de  compte. 

These  sous  d^or  were  coined  by  the  Basileus.  Some- 
times the  worn  triente  took  the  place  of  the  sicilicus. 
The  copper  coins  which  circulated  in  Western  Europe 
were  also  of  Byzantine  mintage.  The  silver  coins  alone 
were  struck  in  the  West.  Pepin  not  only  refrained  from 
the  coinage  of  gold,  he  forbade  it  to  the  princes  subject 
to  his  authority.  In  both  these  respects  he  was  followed 
by  Charlemagne  and  all  the  Western  emperors  until  the 
reign  of  Frederick  II. 

Carlovingian  coinage  system  under  Charlemagne,  a.u.  803. 
Ratio  of  silver  to  gold  12  for  1. 

12  Byzantine  coppers  =  1  Carlovingian  silver  denier/ 17^  grains. 
12  deniers  =  1  Byzantine  sou  d'or,  17i  grains. 

20  sous  d'or  =  1  livre  de  compte. 

Hence  240  deniers  =  1  libra. 

With  regard  to  the  value  of  gold  and  silver  one  to  the 
other,  it  is  to  be  observed  that  there  are  four  distinct 
periods  in  the  history  of  this  relation.      These  are  : 

First,  the  period  from  the  accession  of  Julius  Caesar  to 
the  fall  of  the  Roman  or  Greek  Empire  in  1204,  during  which 
time  the  Roman  government,  by  monopolising  the  coinage 
of  gold,  and  fixing  the  ratio  between  gold  coins  and  silver, 

ROME.  105 

whether  coined  or  otherwise,  at  12  for  1,  kept  it  constant 
and  unaltered  at  that  figure.  As,  during  the  same  interval, 
the  ratio  in  the  Orient  and  the  Arabian  States  was  about  6| 
for  1,  and  in  the  Gothic  States  8  for  1,  some  variation  from 
the  Roman  ratio  is  to  be  observed  near  the  frontiers  of  the 
Empire,  but  not  elsewhere. 

Second,  the  period  from  the  fall  of  Constantinople  to 
the  enactment  of  Individual,  Private,  or  Free  coinage  in 
Holland,  England,  and  other  States  in  the  sixteenth  and 
seventeenth  centuries.  During  this  interval  the  various 
princes  of  the  Occident  began  to  coin  gold,  each  for  him- 
self, and  they  fixed  the  ratio  to  suit  their  own  interests  or 
necessities.  This  period  is  characterised  by  the  wildest 
dissonance  of  the  ratio.  It  was  a  contest,  on  the  one  hand, 
between  monarchs,  who  alternately  raised  their  gold  coins 
to  the  value  of  nearly  tAventy  times  their  weight  in  silver 
(France  in  1813),  and  raised  their  silver  coins  to  the  value 
of  an  equal  weight  in  gold  (France  in  1359);  and,  on  the 
•other  hand,  their  subjects  and  foreigners,  who,  until  they 
adopted  measures  of  avoidance  or  reprisal,  were  made  the 
victims  of  these  frequent  and  ruinous  changes  of  value. 

Third,  the  period  from  the  adoption  of  individual  or  free 
coinage  to  the  years  1871-5.     The  principal  States  of  the 
Occident  ceased   to   coin  silver  for  individual  account   at 
the  dates  last  mentioned.      During  this  interval  the  ratio 
■of  value  between  gold  and  silver  was  the   mint   price,  or 
the  result  of  a  competition  between  the  mints  of  the  prin- 
cipal States.      For   example,  the  value  of  gold  in   silver, 
i  -during  this  interval,  never  rose  above  the  highest  price  paid 
:  for  it  at  any  important  mint,  and  never  fell  below  the  price 
i  paid  for  it  at  any  other  important  mint.      In  other  words, 
nobody  gave  more  nor  less  in  one  metal  for  the  other  than 
the  mints   gave,  and    the   mints   gave  whatever   the  law 
directed.      The  so-called  "  market  value  "  of  this   period 
I  was  simply  the   average    mint  price,  and  was,  therefore, 
rather  what  may  be  termed  an  international  mint  ratio. 
Fourth,  the    period   since    1871—5,  when  silver,   being 


coined  by  tlie  pi'incipal  States  on  their  own  account  alone, 
there  arose  in  the  West,  for  the  first  time  since  the  establish- 
ment of  free  coinage,  a  general  market  value  between  gold 
and  silver,  entirely  distinct  from,  and  having  only  a  remote 
relation  to,  their  mint  value. 



Coinage  the  surest  mark  of  sovereignty — Abstention  of  the  Christian 
princes  from  mining  and  coining  gold,  from  Pepin  to  Frederick  II — Dates 
of  the  earliest  Christian  coinages  of  gold  in  the  "West — Inadequate  reasons 
hitherto  given  to  explain  this  singular  circumstance — Opinions  of  Camden 
• — Ruding — Father  Joubert — The  true  reason  given  by  Procopius — The 
coinage  of  gold  was  a  Sacred  Myth  and  a  prerogative  of  the  Roman  em- 
peror— Its  origin  and  history — Braminical  Code — The  Myth  during  the 
Roman  Republic — During  the  Civil  Wars — Conquest  of  Egypt  by  Julius 
Caesar — Seizure  of  the  Oriental  trade — The  Sacred  Myth  embodied  in  the 
Julian  Constitution — Popularity  and  longevity  of  the  Myth — It  was 
transmitted  by  the  pagan  to  the  Christian  Church  of  Rome,  and  adopted 
by  the  latter — Its  importance  in  throwing  light  upon  the  relations  of  the 
Western  kingdoms  to  the  Roman  Empire. 

rr^HE  right  to  coin  money  has  always  been  and  still 
-*~  remains  the  surest  mark  and  announcement  of 
sovereignty.  A  curious  proof  of  this  is  afforded  by  the 
story  told  by  Edward  Thomas^  in  his  "  Pathan  Kings  of 
Delhi,"  of  that  Persian  commander  who,  being  suspected 
of  a  treasonable  design  towards  his  sovereign,  diverted 
suspicion  from  himself  to  the  king's  son  by  coining  and 
circulating  pieces  of  money  with  the  latter's  super- 
scription.^ Says  Mr.  Thomas  :  "  Some,  perhaps  many, 
of  the  Mahometan  coinages  of  India  constituted  merely 
a  sort  of  numismatic  proclamation  or  assertion  and 
declaration  of  conquest  and  supremacy,"  In  ancient 
times  such  conquest  and  supremacy  often  embraced  the 
triumph  of  an  alien  religion.  Where  printing-  was  un- 
common and  the  newspaper  unknown,  a  new  gold  or  silver 
coinage  was  the  most   effective  means  of    proclaiming  the 

^  "  History  Money,"  p.  89. 


accession  of  a  new  ruler  or  the  era  of  a  new  religion.^ 
At  the  period  of  the  earliest  voj^ages  of  the  Portuguese  to 
India,  the  same  significance  was  attached  to  the  prero- 
gative of  coinage.  Says  Duarbe  Barbosa  :  "  There  are 
many  other  lords  in  Malabar  who  wish  to  call  themselves 
kings,  but  they  are  not  so,  because  they  are  not  able  to 
coin  money.  .  .  .  The  king  of  Cochin  could  not  coin 
money,  nor  roof  his  house  with  tiles,  under  pain  of  losing 
his  fief  (to  the  king  of  Calicut,  his  suzerain)  ;  but  since 
the  Portuguese  went  there,  he  has  been  released  from 
this,  so  that  now  he  lords  it  absolutely  and  coins  money. ^^ 
Father  Du  Halde,  in  his  "History  of  China,"  makes  a 
similar  statement  in  reference  to  that  country.  Says  he  : 
"  There  were  formei'ly  twenty-two  several  places  where 
money  was  fabricated,  at  which  time  there  were  princes 
so  powerful  that  they  were  not  contented  with  the  rank 
of  duke,  but  assumed  the  dignity  of  sovereigns ;  yet 
they  never  durst  attempt  to  fabricate  money,  for,  how- 
ever weak  the  emperor's  authority  Avas,  the  coins  have 
always  had  the   stamp  that  he  commanded.^ 

The  custom  of  employing  coins  as  a  means  of  promul- 
gating religious  doctrine  and  official  information  was 
adopted  by  the  Romans  during  the  Commonwealth.  It 
may  be  traced,  at  a  later  period,  in  the  otherwise  super- 
fluous coinages  of  the  Empire.  Julius,  Hadrian,  and 
Theodoric  depicted  the  principal  events  of  their  reigns 
upon  their  coins.  In  the  absence  of  felted  paper  and 
printing  ink,  it  was  the  only  means  the  ancients  had  of 
printing  and  disseminating  the  most  important  intelligence 
and  opinions.  Addison  correctly  regarded  the  Roman 
coinage  as  a  sort  of  ''  State  Gazette,"  in  which  all  the 
great  events   of  the  Empire  were   periodically  published. 

^  Gibbon  declared  that  were  all  other  records  destroyed,  the  travels  o£ 
the  Emperor  Hadrian  could  be  shown  from  his  coins  alone.  The  Em- 
peror Theodoric  the  Goth  stamped  his  coins  with  the  view  to  instruct 
posterity  ("History  Money,"  p.  89,  n.). 

-  Duarte  Barbosa,  pp.  103  and  157  ;  Du  Halde,  ii,  293. 


It  had  this  advantage  over  any  other  kind  of  monument  : 
it  could  not  be  successfully  mutilated,  forged,  or  sup- 
pressed. Especially  is  the  fabrication  and  issuance  of 
full  legal-tender  coins  the  mark  of  sovereignty.  Towards 
the  end  of  the  Republic  and  during  the  Empire  this 
attribute  belonged  alone  to  gold  coins ;  therefore,  to 
speak  of  these  is  to  speak  of  full  legal-tender  money. 
Vassal  princes,  nobles,  and  prelates,  under  the  warrant 
of  their  suzerains,  everywhere  struck  coins  of  silver, 
which,  although  legal  tender  in  their  OAvn  dominions,  were 
not  so  elsewhere,  unless  by  special  wari'ant  from  the 
Basileus  ;  but  no  Christian  vassal  ever  struck  gold  without 
intending  to  proclaim  his  own  independent  sovei-eignty 
and  without  being  prepared  to  defy  the  suzerainty  of  the 

Lenormant,  in  his  great  work  on  the  "  Moneys  of 
Antiquity,'^  holds  similar  language.  '^  With  the  excep- 
tion of  the  Sassanian  coinages  down  to  the  reign  of 
Sapor  III,  it  is  certain  that  the  coinage  of  gold,  no 
matter  where,  was  alwaj^s  intended  as  a  marked  defiance  to 
the  pretensions  of  sovereignty  by  the  Roman  Empire  ;  for 
example,  during  the  period  of  the  Republic,  about  B.C.  86, 
the  gold  coinages  of  Mithridates,  in  various  places  over 
which  he  had  extended  his  conquests.  The  supremacy 
of  Rome  was  so  widely  accepted  both  East  and  West,  that 
for  many  centuries  neither  the  provinces  subject  directly 
or  indirectly  to  the  Basileus,  nor  even  the  more  or  less 
independent  States  adjacent  to  the  Empire,  ever  attempted 
to  coin  gold  money.  When  gold  was  struck  by  such 
States  it  was  as  a  local  money  of  the  Roman  sovereign."  ^ 
As  such  it  yielded  him  seigniorage ;  it  bore  his  stamp  ; 
its  use  implied  and  acknowledged  his  suzerainty,  both 
spiritual  and  temporal  ;  while  its  issuance  was  subject  to 
such  regulations  as  he  choosed  to  impose. 

Commodus  refused  to  believe  that  his  favourite  Peren- 
nius  aspired  to  the  Empire  until  he  was  shown  some  pieces 
1  Lenormant,  ii,  427. 


of  provincial  mouey,  upon  wliich  appeai'ed  the  effigy  of 
bis  faithless  minister.^  Elagabalus  condemned  Valerius 
Peetus  to  death  for  striking  some  bijoux  pieces  of  gold 
for  his  mistress,  upon  which  he  liad  imprudently  caused 
his  own  image  to  be  stamped."^  The  very  first  act  of  a 
Roman  sovereign  after  his  accession,  election,  or  pi-o- 
clamation  by  the  legions,  was  to  strike  coins,  that  act 
being  deemed  the  surest  mark  of  sovereignty.  Vespasian, 
when  proclaimed  by  the  legions  in  Asia,  hurried  to  strike 
gold  and  silver  coins  at  Antioch.^  Antoninus  Diadu- 
menus,  the  son  of  Macrinus,  was  no  sooner  nominated 
by  the  legions  as  the  associate  of  his  father  in  the  Empire, 
than  the  latter  hastened  to  strike  money  at  Antioch  in 
his  son's  name,  in  order  to  definitively  proclaim  his  acces- 
sion to  the  purple.*  When  Septimius  Severus  accepted 
his  rival,  Albinus,  as  his  associate  on  the  imperial  throne, 
he  coined  money  at  Rome  in  the  name  of  Albinus  as 
evidence  to  the  latter  of  his  agreement  and  good  faith. ^ 
Vopiscus,  in  his  life  of  Firmus,  asserts  that  the  latter 
was  no  brigand,  but  a  lawful  sovereign,  in  whose  name 
money  had  been  coined.  Pollion  says  that  when  Trebel- 
lius  was  elected  emperor  by  the  inhabitants  of  Isaurus, 
he  immediately  hastened  to  strike  money  as  the  sign  of 
his  accession  to  power.^  When  the  partisans  of  Pro- 
copius,  the  rival  of  Valens,  sought  to  win  Illyria  to  their 
master^s  cause,  they  exhibited  the  gold  aurei  which  bore 
his  name  and  effigy,  as  evidence  that  he  was  the  rightful 
head  of  the  Roman  Empire.^  Moses  of  Khorene  informs 
us  that  "  when  a  new  king  of  Persia  ascended  the  throne, 
all  the  money  in  the  royal  treasury  was  recoined  with 
his  effigy."  ^  Even  when  countermarks  were  stamped 
upon  the  Roman  coins,  care   was   taken  never  to  deface 

1  Herodian,  i,  9.  *  Herodian,  ii,  15. 

2  "  Dion.  Cass.,"  Ixxix,  4.  ^  "  Thirty  Tyrants,"  xxv. 

3  "  Tact.  Hist.,"  ii,  82.  '  "Ammianus  Marcellinus,"  xxvi,  7. 
*  Lapridinus,  in  "  Diadumenus,"  2.  ^  Lavoix,  MS.,  p.  12. 


tlie  effigy  of  the  sacred  emperor.^  The  iuterchauge  of 
religious  antipathy  and  defiance,  which  Abd-el-Melik 
and  Justinian  stamped  upon  their  coins,  is  I'elated  else- 
where. Indeed,  history  is  full  of  such  instances.  The 
coinage  of  money,  and  especially  of  gold,  was  always  the 
prerogative  of  supreme  authority."  The  jealous  monopoly 
of  gold  coinage  by  the  sovereign-pontitf  ascends  to  the 
Achimenides  of  Persia,  that  is  to  say,  to  Cyrus  and 
Darius ;  ^  in  fact,  it  ascends  to  the  Brarains  of  India. 
The  Greek  and  Roman  Republics  broke  it  down  ;  Ceesar 
set  it  up  again. 

Assuming  the  common  belief  that  the  Christian  princes 
of  mediaeval  Europe  were  in  all  respects  independent 
sovereigns  before  the  destruction  of  the  Roman  Empire 
by  the  fall  of  Constantinople,  in  1204,  it  is  difficult  to 
explain  the  circumstancj  that  none  of  them  ever  struck  a 
gold  coin  before  that  event,  and  that  all  of  them  struck  gold 
coins  immediately  afterwards.  There  was  no  abstention 
from  gold  coinage  by  either  the  Goths,  the  Celts,  the  Greeks, 
or  the  Romans-of-the-Commonwealth ;  there  was  no  ab- 
stention from  gold  coinage  by  the  Merovingian  Franks  or 
the  Arabians  of  later  ages  ;  there  was  no  lack  of  gold  mines 
or  of  gold  river- washings  in  any  of  thepi'ovinces  or  countries 
of  the  West ;  there  was  no  want  of  knowledge  concerning 
the  manner  of  raising,  smelting,  or  stamping  gold ;  yet  we 
find  the  strange  fact  that  wherever  the  authority  of  the 
Roman  sovereign-pontiff  was  established,  there  and  then  the 
coinage,  nay,  sometimes  even  the  production,  of  gold  at  once 
stopped.  It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  it  is  not  the  use 
of  gold  coins  to  which  reference  is  made,  but  the  coinage — 
the  minting  and  stamping,  of  gold.  In  England  gold 
coins,  except  during  the  early  days  of  the  Heptarchy,  have 
been  in  use  from  the  remotest  era  to  the  present  time. 
Such   coins  were  either  Gothic  (including  Saxon),  Celtic, 

^  Lenovmant,  ii,  389 ;  iii,  389.  -  Lavoix,  MS.,  p.  10. 

'  Lenorinant,  ii,  195,  196. 


Frankish  or  Moslem,  but  never  Eomau,  unless  struck 
by  or  under  the  sovereign-pontiff.  In  a  word,  for  more: 
than  thirteen  centuries — that  is,  from  Augustus  to  Alexis 
IV — the  gold  coins  of  the  Empire,  East  and  "West,  were 
struck  exclusively  by  the  Basileus.  Again,  from  the 
eighth  to  the  thirteenth  century,  a  period  of  five  hundred 
years,  we  have  no  evidence  of  any  native  Christian  gold 
coinage  under  any  of  the  kings  of  Britain.  AVith  the 
exception  of  a  unique  and  dubious  coin,  now  in  the  Paris 
collection,  which  bears  the  effigy  of  Louis  le  Debonnaire, 
the  same  is  true  of  France,  Germany,  Italy  ;  indeed,  of  all 
the  provinces  of  the  Empire  whose  princes  were  Christians. 

Before  pointing  out  the  significance  of  these  circum- 
stances, it  will  be  useful  to  clear  the  ground  by  examining 
the  explanations  of  others.  Caiudeu  conjectures  that 
"  ignorance  "  w^as  the  cause  ;  but  Dr.  Ending  very  justly 
remarks  that  it  could  not  have  been  ig-noi^ance  of  refiuingr 
or  coining  gold,  because  silver,  a  much  more  difficult 
metal  to  treat,  aud  one  that  in  its  natural  state  is  nearly 
always  combined  with  gold,  had  been  refined  and  coined 
in  Britain  for  many  ages.^  Dr.  Ending  and  Lord  Liver- 
pool both  have  supposed  that  coins  of  gold  were  not 
wanted  during  the  middle  ages ;  but  this  is  worse  than 
Camden's  conjecture,  for  it  flies  in  the  face  of  a  palpable 
fact.  That  gold  coins  were  indeed  wanted  is  proved  by 
the  very  common  use  of  gold  aurei,  solidi,  folles,  or 
besants  throughout  all  this  period.  Xot  only  this,  but  the 
Arabian  gold  dinar,  or  mancus,  was  current  in  all  the 
countries  of  the  Xorth  ;  and  either  this  coin  or  the  gold 
maravedi  was  the  principal  medium  of  exchange  in  the 
trade  of  the  Baltic. 

Another  explanation  which  has  been  advanced  is,  that 
the  confusion  caused  by  the  conquests  or  revolts  of  the 
barbarians  resulted  in  the  closure  of  the  gold  mines,  and 
rendered  gold  metal  too  scarce  for  coinage  into  money. 
Explanations  which  take  no  heed  of  the  truth,  made 
^  Camden's  "  Eemains,"  art.  "  Money,"  p.  241. 


'  eitlier   iu    ignorance    or    desperation,    may   be  multiplied 

indefinitely  "without   serving  any  useful    end.      The   facts 

were  precisely  the   reverse  of  what  is  here  assumed.      It 

I   was  the  barbarians  who  opened   the  gold  mines   and  the 

I  Christians    who    closed    them.      The    heretical    Moslem, 

;  Franks,  Avars,  Saxons,  Noi'semen,  and  English  all  opened 

I  gold   mines   during   the    mediasval    ages.      The    moment 

I  these    people   became    Christians,    or  were   conquered  or 

brought  under  the  control  of  the  Roman  hierarchy,  their 

gold  mines  began  to  be  abandoned  and  closed.^ 

All  such  futile  explanations  are  effectually  answered 
by  the  common  use  of  Byzantine  gold  coins  throughout 
■  Christendom.  In  England,  for  example,  the  exchequer 
rolls  relating  to  the  mediaeval  ages,  collated  by  Madox, 
prove  that  payments  in  gold  besants  were  made  every 
day,  and  that  gold  coins,  as  compared  with  silver  ones, 
were  as  common  then  as  now.^  If  metal  had  been  wanted 
for  making  English  gold  coins,  it  was  to  be  had  in  suffi- 
ciency and  at  once.  All  that  was  necessary  was  to  throw 
the  besants  into  the  English  melting-pot.  As  for  the 
feeble  suggestion  that  for  five  hundred  years  no  Chris- 
tian princes  wished  to  coin  gold  so  long  as  the  Basileus 
was  willing  to  coin  for  them,  when  the  coinage  of  gold 
Avas  the  universally  recognised  mark  of  sovereignty,  and 
when,  also,  the  profit,  as  we  shall  presently  see,  was  one 
hundred  per  cent.,  it  is  scarcely  worth  answering.  The 
greatest  historians  of  the  mediasval  ages — Montesquieu, 
Gibbon,  Robertson,  Hallam,  Guizot,  etc. — have  neither 
remarked  these  facts  nor  sought  for  any  explanation 
concerning  the  gold  coinage.  In  their  days  the  science 
of  numismatics  had  not  yet  freed  itself  from  the  toils  of 
the  sophist  and  forger,  and  it  offered  but  little  aid  to 
historical  investigations.  It  has  since  become  their  chief 

^  "History  Precious  Metals"  ;  "  History  Money." 
^  Lord  Liverpool  does  not  appear  to  have  perused  this  valuable  and  in- 
stnictive  work. 



The  true  reason  why  gold  money  was  always  used  but 
never  coined  by  the  princes  of  the  mediasval  empire, 
relates  not  to  any  circumstances  connected  with  the  pro- 
duction, plentifulness,  scarcity,  or  metallurgical  treat- 
ment of  gold,  but  to  that  hierarchical  constitution  of 
pagan  Rome,  which  afterwards  with  modifications  became 
the  constitution  of  Christian  Rome.  Under  this  con- 
stitution, and  from  the  epoch  of  Julius  to  that  of  Alexis, 
the  mining  and  coinage  of  gold  was  a  prerogative  attached 
to  the  office  of  the  sovereign-pontiff,  and  was,  there- 
fore, an  article  of  the  Roman  constitution  and  of  the 
Roman  religion.  Although  it  is  probable  that  during 
the  dark  and  middle  ages  the  prerogative  of  mining 
was  violated  by  many  who  would  never  have  dai-ed  to 
commit  the  more  easily-detected  sacrilege  of  coinage, 
there  ai-e  no  evidences  of  such  violation  by  Christians. 

The  mines  of  Kremnitz,  which  contained  both  silver 
and  gold,  and  which  Agricola  says  were  opened  in  a.d. 
550,  were  in  the  territory  of  the  pagan  Avars  ;  the  gold 
washings  of  the  Elbe,  re-opened  in  719,  were  in  the 
hands  of  the  pagan  Saxons  and  Merovingian  Franks  ;  so 
were  the  gold  washings  of  the  Rhine,  Rhone,  and  Garonne  ; 
the  gold  mines  of  Africa  and  Spain,  re-opened  in  the 
eighth  century,  were  worked  by  the  heretical  Moslem ; 
the  gold  mines  of  Kaurzim,  in  Bohemia,  opened  in  998, 
were  managed  by  pagan  Czechs.  Whenever  and  wherever 
Christianity  was  established,  gold  mining  appears  to 
have  been  relinquished  to  the  Basileus  or  abandoned 
altogether.  So  long  as  the  Byzantine  empire  lasted, 
neither  the  emperor  of  the  West,  nor  any  of  the  other 
princes  of  Christendom,  except  the  Basileus  himself, 
seem  to  have  conducted  or  permitted  gold  mining. 

With  regard  to  gold  coinage  the  facts  are  simple  and 
indisputable.  Julius  Caesar  erected  the  coinage  of  gold 
into  a  sacerdotal  prerogative;  this  prerogative  was  attached 
to  the  sovereign  and  his  successors,  not  as  the  emperors, 
but  as  the  high  priests  of  Rome ;  it  was  enjoyed  by  every 


Basileus,  whether  pagan  or  Christian,  of  the  joint  and 
Eastern  empires  from  the  Julian  conquest  of  Alexandria 
to  the  papal  destruction  of  Constantinople ;  the  pieces 
bore  the  rayed  effigies  of  the  deified  Caesars,  and  some  of 
them  the  legend  '^  Theos  Sebastos."  When  emperor- 
worship  was  succeeded  by  Christianity  they  bore  the  effigy 
of  Jesus  Christ.^  It  would  have  been  sacrilege,  punishable 
by  torture,  death,  and  anathema  for  any  other  prince  than 
the  sovereign-pontiff  to  strike  coins  of  gold  ;  it  would  have 
been  sacrilege  to  give  currency  to  any  others ;  hence  no 
other  Christian  prince,  not  even  the  pope  of  Rome,  nor  the 
sovereign  of  the  Western  or  Mediseval  empire,  attempted  to 
coin  gold  while  the  ancient  Empire  survived. 

Says  Procopius :  "  Every  liberty  was  given  by  the 
Basileus  Justinian  I  to  subordinate  princes  to  coin  silver 
as  much  as  they  choosed,  but  they  must  not  strike  gold 
coins,  no  matter  how  much  gold  they  possessed ;  ^'  and  he 
intimates  that  the  distinction  was  neither  new  nor  its  sig- 
nificance doubtful.  Theophanus  (eighth  century),  Cedrenus 
(eleventh  century),  and  Zonaras  (twelfth  century)  state 
that  Justinian  II  broke  the  peace  of  68Q  with  Abd-el-Melik 
because  the  latter  paid  his  tribute  in  pieces  of  gold  which 
bore  not  the  effigy  of  the  Roman  emperor.  In  vain  the 
Arabian  caliph  pleaded  that  the  coins  were  of  full  weight 
and  fineness,  and  that  the  Arabian  merchants  would  nou 
accept  coins  of  the  Roman  type.  Here  are  the  exact 
Avords  of  Zonaras  :  "  Justinian  broke  the  treaty  with  the 
Arabs  because  the  annual  tribute  was  paid,  not  in  pieces 

1  William  Till  (p.  39)  says  that  Justin  II  (a.d.  565-78)  first  struck  the 
aureus  (solidus,  or  besant)  with  the  efSgy  of  Christ  and  the  legend 
"  Dominus  Xoster,  Jesus  Christus,  rex  regnantium,"  and  that  this  prac- 
tice was  observed  down  to  the  fall  of  the  Byzantine  empire.  This  state- 
ment is  erroneous  in  several  respects.  The  first  name  of  Christ  on  the 
Eoman  coins  was  never  spelled  "  Jesus,"  but,  successively,  "  Ihs," 
■"  Issus,"  and  "  lesus."  The  efiigy  of  Christ  did  not  appear  on  the  coins 
of  Justin  II.  It  first  appeared  on  a  gold  solidus  of  Justinian  II  (Klii- 
notmetus)  who  reigned  685-95,  and  again  705-11  (Sabatier,  "  Monnaies 
Byzantines,"  ii,  22). 


with  tlie  imperial  effigy,  but  after  a  new  type  ;  and  it  is  not 
permitted  to  stamp  gold  coins  with  any  other  efG^gy  but  that 
of  the  emperor  of  Rome/' ^  The  "new  type  "  complained  of 
probably  had  as  much  to  do  with  the  matter  as  the  absence 
of  Justinian's  effigy.  That  new  type  was  the  effigy  of 
Abd-el-Melik  with  a  drawn  sword  in  his  hand,  and  the 
Mahometan  religious  formula  :  a  triple  offence — an  insult, 
a  defiance,  and  a  sacrilege. 

The  privilege  accorded  to  subject-kings  with  regard  to 
silver  was  extended  to  both  mining  and  coinage.  Silver 
mining  and  coinage  was  conducted  by  all  the  Western 
princes,  the  Western  emperor  included.  The  pope  dis- 
posed of  a  few  coining  privileges  to  new  or  weak  States, 
or  dependent  bishoprics,  the  Western  emperors  disposed 
of  others  to  the  commercial  cities  ;  but  for  the  most  part 
silver  was  coined  b}^  the  feudal  princes,  each  for  himself, 
and  not  under  any  continuing  prerogative  of  the  empire, 
whether  ancient  or  mediasval. 

The  following  table  shows  some  of  the  earliest  gold 
coinages  of  Christian  Europe  : — 

1225.  Naples  (Aiualfi). — Aurei,  or  augustals,  of  Frederick  II;  81  to  82 
English  grains  fine. 

1225.  Leo>".  — Gold  ducats  o£  Alfonso,  gross  weight  541  English  grains, 
with  the  following  inscription  in  Arabic  :  "  In  the 
name  of  the  Father,  Son,  and  Holv  Ghost,  God  is 
One.     He  who  believes  and  is  baptised  will  be 

1  From  the  period  a.d.  645,  when  their  conquests  deprived  the  Eoman 
empire  of  the  bulk  of  its  Asiatic  and  African  possessions,  to  about  the 
beginning  of  the  eighth  century,  the  Arabians  struck  coins  with  the 
effigy  of  the  Eoman  emperor  and  the  emblems  ^  and  the  cross.  At  tliat 
period  they  struck  coins  still  with  these  emblems,  but  in  place  of  the 
emperor's  effigy,  that  of  Abd-el-Melik  with  a  drawn  sword  in  hand. 
Like  the  maravedis  of  Henry  III  (1257)  and  the  nobles  of  Edward  III 
(1344),  the  issue  of  these  coins  amounted  to  an  assertion  of  independent 
sovereignty,  and  as  such  was  resented  by  Justinian.  To  the  nummu- 
lary proclamation  of  the  Arabian  :  "  The  servant  of  God,  Abd-el-Melik, 
Emir-el-Moumenim,"  the  Eoman  replied  :  "  Our  Lord  Justinian,  servant 
of  Christ." 

THE    SACRED    OHARACrEIi    OF    GOLD.  117 

saved.  This  dinar  was  struck  in  Medina  Tolei- 
tola,  in  the  year  1225,  month  of  Saphar."'  Here 
is  a  curious  mixture  of  doctrines  and  dates. 

1225.  PoETCGAL. — Gold  ducats  of  Sancho  I,  weighing  oik  grains  gross. 

1250.  France. — Gold  agnels,  or  dinars,  struck  for  Louis  IX  by  Blanche, 
his  mother.     Weight  63^  grains  gross.- 

1252.  Floeexce. — Republican  zecchins  or  florins,  56  grains  fine. 

1257.  ExGLAXD. — Pennies,  or  maravedis,  of  Henry  III,  43  grains  line. 

1276.  Venice. — Zecchins  or  sequins,  55^^  grains  fine. 

loiX).  Boh.  and  Pol. — Ducats  of  Veneslas,  54J  grains  gross. 

1316.  Avignon. — Sequins  of  Pope  John  XXII,  SIA  grains  fine.' 

1496.  Den.  and  Xoe. — Eight-mark  piece  of  John,  240  grains  gross.^ 

'  Although  this  can  hardly  be  deemed  a  Christian  coin,  I  have  in- 
cluded it  in  the  table.  Heiss  publishes  a  gold  coin  with  "Ferdinand" 
on  one  side,  and  "  In  nomine  Patris  et  Filii  Spiritus  Sanctus  "  on  the 
other,  which  he  ascribes  to  Ferdinand  I  (II),  1157-88  ;  but  Saez  is  posi- 
tive that  they  are  sueldos  of  Ferdinand  II  (III),  1230-52.  There  is 
about  the  same  difference  of  time  between  the  Julian  and  Christian  eras. 
The  next  gold  coins,  after  those  of  Alfonso,  were  either  the  sueldos  of 
Barba  Robea,  in  the  thirteenth  century,  or  the  Alfonsines  struck  by 
Alfonso  XI,  of  Castile,  1312-50.  The  latter  had  a  castle  of  three 
turrets  on  one  side,  and  a  rampant  lion  on  the  other.  Gross  weight  67'89 
English  grains  (Heiss,  i,  51 ;  iii,  218). 

^  Baron  Malestroict  ("  Inst.,"  p.  4)  ascribes  the  first  gold  agnel  to 
Blanche  of  Castile,  as  regent  of  France  during  the  minority  of  Louis 
IX.  Patin  ("  History  of  Coins,"  p.  38)  repeats  that  they  were  struck  by 
Blanche  as  regent,  but  says  nothing  more.  As  Blanche  was  regent  a 
second  time  (during  the  sixth  crusade,  1248-52),  these  coins  were 
probably  struck  in  1250  to  defray  the  expenses  of  that  war.  Louis' 
Hansom  of  100,000  marks  was  probably  paid  in  silver.  "  There  were 
sent  to  Louis  in  talents,  in  sterlings,  and  in  approved  money  of  Cologne 
(not  the  base  coins  of  Paris  or  Tours),  eleven  waggons  of  money,  each 
loaded  with  two  iron-hooped  barrels  "  (M.  Paris,  sub  anno  1250,  vol.  ii, 
pp.  342,  378,  380).  Humphreys  (p.  532)  ascribes  these  agnels  to  Philip 
le  Hardi,  1270-85  ;  but  there  is  no  reason  to  doiibt  the  earlier  and  moi'e 
explicit  authority  of  Malestroict,  Le  Blanc,  and  Patin,  nor  the  more  recent 
judgment  of  Lenorraant  ("  Monnaies  et  Medailles,"  p.  228)  and  Hoff- 
man ("  Monnaies  Royale"). 

*  This  pope  wrote  a  treatise  on  the  transmutation  of  metals,  the  pro- 
lific examplar  of  many  similar  works. 

■*  The  eight-mark  piece  and  its  fractions,  of  King  Hans  fJohn),  a.d. 
1481-1512,  are  in  the  Christiania  Collection.     The  type  of  these  coins  is 


Tliat  Christian  Europe  abstained  from  coining  gold  for 
five  centuries  because  such  coinage  was  a  prerogative  of 
the  Basileus^  is  an  explanation  that  may  not  be  acceptable 
to  the  old  school  of  historians  ;  but  this  is  not  a  sufficient 
reason  for  its  rejection.  The  old  school  would  have  been 
very  greedy  of  knowledge  if  they  had  not  left  something 
for  the  new  school  to  discover. 

In  his  "Science  des  Medailles ''  (i,  208-11),  Father 
Joubert,  and  after  him  other  numismatists,  observing  the 
strange  abstention  of  the  Christian  princes  from  coining 
gold,  and  perhaps  anxious  to  supply  a  reason  for  it 
which  Avould  have  the  effect  to  discourage  any  further 
examination  of  so  suggestive  a  topic,  invented  or  promul- 
gated the  ingenious  doctrine  that  the  Roman  emperors 
from  the  time  of  Augustus  were  invested,  in  like  manner,. 
with  the  power  to  coin  both  gold  and  silver.  If  this 
doctrine  enjoyed  the  advantage  of  being  sound,  it  would 
deprive  the  long  abstention  from  gold  coinage  by  the 
Western  princes  of  much  of  its  significance  ;  because, 
assuming  that  the  coinage  of  gold  and  silver  stood  upon 
the  same  footing,  and  remembering  that  all  the  Christian 
princes  coined  silver,  their  omission  to  coin  gold  might,, 
with  some  reason,  be  attributed  to  indifference.  But 
that  Father  Joubert's  doctrine  is  not  sound  is  easily 

I.  With  the  accession  of  Julius  Ctesar  was  enacted 
a  neAV  and  memorable  change  in  the  monetary  system 
of  Eome.  The  gold  aureus  was  made  the  sole  unlimited 
universal  legal-tender  coin  of  the  empire  ;  the  silver  and 
copper  coins  were  limited  and  localised  in  legal  tender  f 
the  ratio  of  gold  to  silver  in  the  coinage  was  sud- 
denly— and  in  the  face  of  greatly  increased  supplies 
of  gold  bullion — raised  from  9  silver  to  12  silver  for  1 
gold  ;  and  the  mining  and  commerce  of  gold  were  seized, 
controlled,    and    strictly  monopolised    by  the    sovereign- 

evidently  copied  from  the  nobles  of  Edward  III,  minted  from  1351  tO' 


pontiff  ;  whereas  the  mining-  of  silver  was  thrown  open  to 
subsidiary  princes  and  certain  privileged  individuals.^ 
With  the  production  of  gold  thus  limited  to  pontifical 
control,  and  that  of  silver  thrown  open  to  numerous  per- 
sons, the  coinage  of  the  two  metals  in  like  manner,  or 
under  like  conditions,  was  totally  impracticable  and  his- 
torically untrue.' 

II.  As  will  presently  be  shown  more  at  length,  the 
imperial  treasury — which  was  kept  distinct  from  the  public 
treasury,  and  known  by  another  name — was  organised  as 
a  sacred  institution  ;  its  chief  officer,  then  or  later  on,  was 
invested  with  a  sacred  title  ;  the  coinage  of  gold,  which 
was  placed  under  its  management,  was  exercised  as  a 
sacred  prerogative ;  and  the  coins  themselves  were 
stamped  with  sacred  emblems  and  legends.^  On  the 
contrar}^,  the  coinage  of  silver  was  a  secular  prerogative  ; 
it  belong-ed  to  the  emperor  as  a  secular  monarch,  and  as 
such  it  was  thrown  open  to  the  subsidiaiy  princes,  nobles, 
and  cities  of  the  empire,  while  that  of  copper-bronze  was 
resigned  to  the  Senate.  These  are  not  like  conditions  of 
coinage,  but,  on  the  contrary,  very  unlike  ones. 

III.  From  the  accession  of  Julius  to  the  fall  of  Con- 
stantinople, the  ratio  of  value  between  gold  and  silver 
within  the  Roman  empire,  whether  pagan  or  Christian, 
was  always  1  to  12  ;  whereas,  during  the  same  interval, 
it  was  1  to  6^  in  India,  as  well  as  in  the  Arabian  empire, 
in  Asia.  Africa,  and  Spain  ;  and  it  was  1  to  8  in  Freisland, 
Scandinavia,  and  the  Baltic  provinces.  It  is  inconceivable 
that  one  single  unvarying  ratio  of  1  to  12  should  have 
been  maintained  for  centuries  by  the  innumerable  and 
irreconcilable  feudal  provinces  of  the    Roman    empire,   if 

^  The  exportation  of  gold  had  been  previously  conti'olled  by  the  Senate. 
Csesar  made  it  a  prerogative  of  the  .sovereign-pontiff. 

-  See  "  History  Money,"  chapter  xxv,  for  further  consideration  of  this 

•''  The  officers  of  the  sacred  fisc,  who  were  stationed  in  tlie  provinces  to 
superintend  the  collection  of  gold  for  the  sacred  mint  at  Constantinople, 
are  mentioned  in  the  Notitia  Imperii. 


tlie  freedom  to  coin  silver,  exercised  by  the  feudal  princes, 
was  in  like  manner  extended  to  gold. 

IV.  The  authority  of  ancient  "writers  is  conclusive  on 
this  subject.  Cicero,  Pliny,  Procopius,  and  Zonaras, 
though  they  lived  in  distant  ages,  all  concur  in  repre- 
senting that  the  coinage  of  the  two  precious  metals  was 
not  conducted    in  like  manner  nor  under  like  conditions. 

V.  The  authority  of  modern  writers,  for  example, 
Letronne,  Momrasen,  and  Lenormant,  is  to  the  same 
effect.  This  absolutely  closes  the  subject,  and  completely 
disposes  of  Father  Joubert. 

The  sacerdotal  character  conferred  upon  gold,  or  the 
coinage  of  gold,  was  not  a  novelty  of  the  Julian  consti- 
tution ;  rather  was  it  an  ancient  myth  put  to  new  political 
use.  Concerning  the  testimony  of  witnesses,  the  very 
ancient  Hindu  Code  says  :  "  By  speaking  falsely  in  a 
cause  concerning  gold,  he  kills  the  born  and  the  un- 
born ^^ — an  extreme  anathema.  Stealing  sacred  gold  is 
classed  with  the  highest  of  crimes.^  A  similar  soli- 
citude and  veneration  for  gold  occurs  elsewhere  through- 
out these  laws.  The  Budhists  made  it  unlawful  to  mine 
for,  or  even  to  handle  gold,  probably  because  the  Bramins 
had  used  it  as  an  engine  of  tyranny.  According  to  Mr. 
Ball,  this  superstition  is  still  observed  in  some  remote  parts 
of  India.  It  is  possible  that,  in  some  instances,  the 
sacerdotal  character  attached  to  gold  by  the  Bramins 
belonged  only  to  such  of  it  as  had  been  paid  to  the  priests, 
or  consecrated  to  the  temples,  and  that  when  the  priests 
paid  it  away  it  was  no  longer  saci-ed  ;  but  the  texts  will 
not  always  bear  this  reading.  For  example  :  "  He  who 
steals  a  suvarna  '^  (suvarna,  a  gold  coin)  ''dies  on  a  dung- 
hill, is  turned  to  a  serpent,  and  rots  in  hell  until  the  dis- 
solution of  the  universe "  (vide  Bramiuical  inscription 
found  on  copperplate  dug  up  at  Eaiwan,  in  Delhi)." 
The  same  superstition  occurs    among    the   ancient   Egyp- 

'  Halhed's  "  Gentoo  Code,"  viii,  99  ;  ix,  237. 
-  "  Jour.  Asiat.  See.  Bengal,"  Ivi,  118. 


tians,  Persians,  and  Jews.  There  are  frequent  allusions 
to  it  in  the  pages  of  Herodotus.  For  example,  Tai-gitaus, 
the  first  king  of  Scythia,  a  thousand  years  before  Dai'ius, 
the  sacred  king  of  Persia  (this  would  make  it  about  B.C. 
1500),  was  the  divine  son  of  Jupiter  and  a  daughter  of 
the  river  Borysthenes,  or  Dneister.  In  the  kingdom  of 
Targitans  gold  was  found  in  abundance,  but  being  deemed 
sacred,  it  was  reserved  for  the  use  of  the  sacred  king. 
In  another  place  Herodotus  relates  that  in  the  reign  of 
Darius,  B.C.  521  (of  whom  Lenormant  says,  in  his  great 
work  on  the  "  Moneys  of  Antiquity,"  that  he  reserved 
the  coinage  of  gold  to  himself  absolutely),  Aryandes,  his 
viceroy  in  Egypt,  struck  a  silver  coin  to  resemble  the 
gold  darics  of  the  king.  Possibly,  to  make  the  resem- 
blance greater,  it  was  also  gilded.  For  this  offence 
Aryandes  was  condemned  as  a  traitor  and  executed. 
Josephus  makes  many  allusions  to  the  sacredness  of  gold. 
A  similar  belief  is  to  be  noticed  among  the  ancient  Greeks, 
whose  coinages,  except  during  the  republican  era,  were 
conducted  in  the  temples  and  under  the  supervision  of 
priests.  Upon  these  issues  wei'e  stamped  the  symbolism 
and  religion  of  the  State,  and  as  only  the  priesthood 
could  correctly  illustrate  these  mysteries  of  their  own 
creation,  the  coinage — at  least  that  of  the  more  precious 
pieces — naturally  became  a  prerogative  of  their  order. 
Rawlinson  notices  that  the  Parthian  kings,  even  after 
they  threw  off  the  Syro-Macedonian  yoke,  never  ventured 
to  strike  gold  coins."  The  reason  probably  was  that  in 
place  of  the  Syro-Macedonian  yoke  they  had  accepted 
ithe  Eoman,  and  that  the  Roman  (imperial)  law  forbade 
■the  coinage  of  gold  to  subject-pi'inces. 

Whatever  credit  or  significance  be  accorded  or  denied 
to  these  ancient  glimpses  of  the  myth,  its  significance 
becomes  clearer  when  it  is  viewed  through  the  accounts 
of  the    Roman    historians.      The    Sacred   Myth   of   Gold 

1  Mel.,  7,  166 ;  Lenormant,  i,  173. 

2  Geo.  Rawlinson,  "  Seventh  Monarchy,"  p.  70. 


appears  in  Rome  at  the  period  when  tlie  history  of  tlie 
Gaulish  invasion  of  a.u.  869  was  written.  The  story  runs 
that  after  the  eternal  city  had  been  saved  from  the  bar- 
barians, it  was  held  by  the  Roman  leaders  that  to  the 
^old  which  had  been  taken  from  the  mass  belonging  to 
the  temples  should  be  added  the  gold  contributed  by  the 
women  towards  making  up  the  rausom,  or  indemnity,  of 
a  thousand  pounds  weight,  and  that  all  of  it  should 
thenceforth  be  regarded  as  sacred.  Says  Livy  :  "  The- 
gold  which  had  been  rescued  from  payment  to  the  Gauls, 
as  also  what  had  been,  during  the  hurry  of  the  alarm, 
carried  from  the  other  temples  into  the  recess  of 
Jupiter's  temple,  was  altogether  judged  to  be  sacred,  and 
ordered  to  be  deposited  together  under  the  throne  of 
Jupiter.''  ^ 

At  this  period,  according  to  Pliny,  the  Roman  money 
was.  entirely  of  bronze.  If  this  is  true,  all  offerings  of 
money  to  the  temples  must  have  been  in  bronze  coiiis. 
If  the  object  of  conferring  a  sacerdotal  character  upon 
gold  was  merely  to  preserve  the  ecclesiastical  treasure 
from  violation,  it  is  inexplicable  that  the  same  sacred 
character  was  not  also  conferred  upon  the  current  bronze- 
money.  It  is  far  more  consistent  with  the  grossly  super- 
stitious character  of  the  age  to  believe  that  the  Romans, 
(of  the  period  when  this  legend  was  penned)  were  taught 
to  regard  all  gold,  except  such  as  was  worn  upon  the 
person,  as  sacred  ;  and  that  the  object  of  prououncing- 
the  gold  in  the  jewels  contributed  by  the  Roman  women 
to  be  sacred,  was  to  prevent  its  ever  being  again  worn, 
as  jewellery.  This  gold  had  saved  Rome,  for  although 
it  is  said  it  was  not  actually  paid  to  the  Gauls,  the  delajr 
attending  the  weighing  of  it  had  given  time  for  Camillus 
to  advance  to  the  rescue  of  the  beleaguered  citadel  and. 
drive  the  barbarians  away.  There  was  no  less  reason 
for  rendering  sacred  the  gold  in  the  jewels,  whose  weigh- 
ing  had   saved    the  city,  than  the    geese    whose    cackling- 

^  Livy,  V.  50. 


had  coutributed  to  the  same  happy  event.  Howevei-,  it 
is  possible  that,  as  yet,  a  sacred  character  was  only 
attached  to  such  gold  as  had  been  consecrated  to  tlie 

The  social,  servile,  and  civil  wars  of   Rome    were   cha- 
racterised by  great  disorders  of  the  currency,  and  during 
,  the   latter,  that    is   to    say,  in  B.C.    91,    Livius    Drusus,  a 
I  tribune   of  the   people,   authorised  the    coinage  of  silver 
denarii,  alloyed  with  "  one-eighth  part  of  copper,"  which 

was  a  lowering:  of  the  long-established  standard.     As  the 
i  o  o 

:  civil  wars  continued,  a  portion   of  the   silver  coinage   was. 

!  still  further  debased,  and  the  denarius,  whose  legal  value 
had  long  been  16  aces,  was  lowered  to  10  aces.  Later 
on  we  hear  of  the  issue  of  copper  denarii  plated  to  re- 
semble those  of  silver.  It  is  possibly  to  these  debased 
or  plated  coins  that  Sallust  alludes  when  he  says  that  by 
a  law  of  A'alerius  Flaccus,  the  Interrex,  under  Sylla 
(B.C.  86),  '^  argentum  fere  solutum  est,"  i.  e.  silver  is  now- 
paid  with  bronze.  Valleius  Paterculus  explained  the 
operation  of  this  law  differently,  in  saying  that  it  obliged 
all  creditors  to  accept  in  full  payment  only  a  fourth  part 
of  what  was  due  them.  These  explanations  afford  a 
proof  that  at  this  period  the  gold  coins  were  not  sole 
leo-al  tenders.  The  discontent  produced  among  com- 
mercial classes  by  this  law^  of  Valerius  Flaccus,  induced 
the  College  of  Praetors  (b.c.  84)  to  restore  the  silver  money 
to  its  ancient  standard  by  instituting  what  we  would  now 
call  a  trial  of  the  pix.  Sylla,  enraged  at  this  interfer- 
ence with  the  coinage  and  the  political  designs  connected 
■with  it,  annulled  the  decree  of  the  prtetors,  proscribed 
their  leader,  Marius  Gratidianus,  as  a  traitor,  and  handed 
him  over  to  Catiline,  by  whom  he  was  executed.^ 

Sylla's   lex    nummaria    (b.c.  83),  which  prescribed  the 
punishment    of    fire    and    water,    or    the    mines,    to    the 

1  Modern  writere  on  money  have  expended  a  good  deal  of  false  senti- 
ment on  Gratidianus.  Cicero,  who  was  his  relative  and  possibly  knew 
'him  better,  proves  him  a  liar,  cheat,  demagogue,  and  traitor  [OS.,  iii,  20j. 


forgers  of  gold  and  silver  coins,  implies  that  at  this  period 
the  immunity  which  perhaps  previously,  and  certainly  after- 
wards, attended  gold  coins,  was  not  yet  secured.  About 
B.C.  82,  Q.  Antonius  Balbus,  an  urban  prtetor,  was  autho- 
rised by  the  Senate,  then  controlled  b}'  the  partisans  of 
Marius,  to  collect  the  sacred  treasure  from  the  temples 
and  turn  it  into  coins.  This  money  was  employed  in  the 
struggle  with  Sylla.  It  is  to  this  period,  doubtless,  that 
Cicero  afterwards  referred  when  he  said :  "  At  that 
time  the  currency  was  in  such  a  fluctuating  state,  that 
no  man  knew  what  he  was  worth."  ^  After  Sylla's 
triumph  over  Marius,  and  his  resignation  of  the  dictator- 
ship (B.C.  79),  the  ancient  standard  of  the  silver  coinage 
was  restored  ;  and  the  opulent  citizens,  in  order  to  ex- 
press their  approbation  of  this  measure,  erected  full- 
length  statues  of  the  unfortunate  Marius  Gratidianus  in 
various  parts  of  Rome.  About  B.C.  69,  Cicero  alluded  to 
the  public  treasury  as  the  "  sanctius  asrarium.^'  This  ex- 
pression, in  connection  with  the  coins  struck  by  Antonius 
Balbus,  from  consecrated  treasure  and  the  statues  erected 
to  Marius  Gratidianus,  all  point  to  this  period  as  that 
of  the  adoption  of  the  sacredness  of  gold  in  the  Roman 

About  this  time  the  Jews  appear  to  have  again  acquired 
some  share  in  that  lucrative  trade  with  India  which  they 
had  formerly  shared  with  the  Greeks,  and  Avhich  has  ever 
been  a  source  of  contention  and  hatred  among  the  states 
of  the  Levant.  The  principal  channel  of  this  trade  was 
now  by  the  Nile  and  the  Red  Sea,  and  was  in  the  hands 
of  the  Ptolemaic  rulers  of  Egypt.  A  portion  of  it,  how- 
ever, went  overland  by  Palmyra  ;  and  from  this  portion 
Jerusalem  derived  important  commercial  advantages. 
Such  as  they  Avere,  these  advantages  were  lost  to  the 
Jews  and  acquired  by  Rome,  when,  in  B.C.  6o,  Pompey 
and  Scaurus  snatched  Judea  from  the  contentious 
Maccabees,  and  established  over  it  a  Roman  govern- 
1  OfE.,  iii,  30. 


ment.^  In  B.C.  59  Cicero  said  :  '^  The  Senate,  on  several 
different  occasions,  but  more  strictly  during  my  consulship, 
prohibited  the  exportation  of  gold."  Exportare  aurum 
non  oportere  cum  saspe  antea  Senatus  turn  me  consule 
gravissime  judicavit.^  Cicero  was  consul  four  years 
previously,  that  is  to  say,  in  B.C.  63.  ''  Exportation  "  here 
seems  to  mean  transmission  from  one  province  of  the 
Eoman  empire  to  another,  because  elsewhere,  in  the 
same  pleading,  Cicero  says  :  "  Flaccus  ''  (a  proconsul  of 
Syria)  "b}' a  public  edict,  prohibited  its  exportation  "(that 
of  gold)  "  from  Asia."  The  introduction  of  the  word 
"  Italy  "  in  Cicero's  plea  for  Flaccus,  can  only  be  regarded 
as  a  means  of  enlisting  the  prejudice  of  the  judges. 
Here  is  the  passage  in  full :  "  Since  our  gold  has  been 
annually  carried  out  of  Italy  and  all  the  Roman  provinces 
by  the  Jews,  to  Jerusalem,  Flaccus,  by  a  public  edict, 
prohibited  its  exportation  from  Asia."  The  Jews  pro- 
bably bought  gold  (with  silver)  in  the  provinces  between 
Judea  and  India,  because  it  was  cheaper  in  those  places 
than  in  Europe.  They  may  have  bought  silver  in  Greece 
or  Italy,  but  unless  their  commercial  pre-eminence  is  a 
trait  of  altogether  modern  growth,  it  is  hard  to  believe 
that  they  bought  gold  in  Italy,  when  it  could  have  been 
obtained  nearer  by,  at  two-thirds  the  price.  The  penalty 
which  this  unlucky  people  have  paid  for  their  ill-starred 
attempts  to  share  in  the  Greek  and  Roman  profits  of  the 
oriental  trade  has  been  more  than  two  thousand  years  of 
injustice,  opprobrium,  and  ostracism. 

The  conquest  of  Egypt  by  Julius  Csesar  (b.c.  48)  threw 
the  whole  of  the  oriental  trade  into  the  hands  of  Rome. 
Canals  connecting  the  Mediterranean  and   Red  Seas  had 

^  The  Maccabees  struck  the  earliest  Jewish  coins.  These  were  called 
sicals  or  shekels,  the  same  name  given  to  coins  hj  the  ancient  Hindus, 
■with  whom  sicca  meant  a  mint,  or  "  minted,"  or  "  cut."  The  Arabians. 
of  a  later  period  also  borrowed  the  same  term. 

-  "  Oi-at.  pro  L.  Flacco,"  c.  28. 


been  constructed  successively  by  Necho/  Darius,  and 
Ptolemy  ;  and  sliortly  after  tlie  Julian  conquest,  one  of 
these  canals  was  used  for  the  voyages  of  the  Indian  fleet.^ 
A  century  or  so  later  Pliny  recorded  the  fact  that  a  hun- 
di-ed  million  sesterces  worth  of  silver  (equal  in  value  to 
one  million  gold  aurei)  was  annually  exported  to  India  ■ 
and  China.^  The  numercial  proportions  of  the  gold  and 
silver  ratios  in  Europe  and  India  indicate  that  this  trade 
was  not  a  new  one,  and  that  a  similar  trade  had  been 
conducted  by  the  Ptolemies  and  by  the  Babylonians  and 
Assyrians  upward  to  a  remote  era  of  the  commercial 
intercourse  between  the  Eastern  and  Western  Avorlds.* 
During  the  Ptolemaic  period  the  ratio  was  10  for  1  in 
Europe,  and  12^  for  1  in  Egypt,  whilst  it  was  6  to  6;^  for 
1  iti  the  Orient.  In  other  words,  a  ton  weight  of  gold 
could  be  bought  in  India  for  about  6^  tons  of  silver,  and 
coined,  in  Egypt,  into  gold  pieces  worth  12  i  tons  of 
silver.^  The  profit  was  therefore  cent,  per  cent.,  and 
even  after  the  Romans  conquered  Egypt,  the  i-ate  of 
profit   on    exchanges  of    Western  silver  for  Eastern   gold 

1  Herodotus,  Clio,  202 ;  Eut.,  158 ;  Mel.,  39. 

-  Strabo.  At  a  later  period  the  inter-oceanic  canal  became  clogged 
with  drifting  sand,  and  was  reopened  by  Trajan  or  Hadrian,  probably  the 
latter.  It  was  kept  open  by  the  Byzantine  emperors.  See  Marcianus  in 
Morisotus,  "  Orbis  Martimus,"  and  Anderson's  "  History  Commerce."  It 
was  again  reopened  by  Amrou  in  a.d.  639,  during  the  reign  of  the  caliph 
Omar.  The  Ptolemaic  (and  Eoman)  route  was  by  Alexandria,  the  Nile, 
the  Canal,  Berenice,  Sabia,  and  Muscat.  It  is  fully  described  in  the 
"  Periplus  maris  erythrsei  "  of  Arrian. 

•''  Minimaque  computatione  millies  contena  millia  sestertium  annis 
omnibus  India  et  Seres  peninsulaque  ilia  imperio  nostro  adimunt.  Tanto 
nobis  deliciiB  et  feminse  constant  ("  Nat.  History,"  xii,  18).  In  another 
place  (vi,  23)  he  puts  it  at  half  this  sum,  "  Quingenties  H.  S."  for  India 
alone.  The  "  feminine  luxuries  "  imported  in  exchange  included  gold, 
silk,  and  spices.  Numbers  of  the  silver  coins  exported  to  India  at  this 
period  have  been  found  during  the  present  century  buried  in  Budhist 

■*  "  Hist.  Money,  Ancient,"  p.  71. 

'  Lenormant,  i,  146-51. 

I      .  THE    SACRED   CHARACTER    OF    GOLD.  127 

'  was  quite  or  nearly  as  great.  This  explains  what  seems 
I  so  abstruse  a  puzzle  to  the  industrious  but  uncommercial 
;  Pliny  :  he  could  not  understand  why  his  countrymen 
"  always  demanded  silver  and  not  gold  from  conquered 
'  races. '^  ^  One  reason  was  that  the  Roman  government 
knew  where  to  sell  this  silver  at  an  usurer's  profit.  When 
j  this  profit  ceased,  as  it  did  when  the  oriental  trade  was 
;  abandoned,  the  Roman  government  entii-ely  altered  its 
•  policy.  During  the  middle  ages  it  preferred  to  collect  its 
I  tributes  in  gold  coins. 

When  the  enormous  difference  in  the  legal  value  of  the 
precious  metals  in  the  Occident  and  Orient  is  considered, 
[and  that,  too,  at  a  period  when  maritime  trade  between 
these  regions  was  not  uncommon,  it  is  impossible  to  resist 
the  conviction  that  the  superior  value  of  gold  in  the 
West  was  created  by  means  of  legal  and,  perhaps,  also 
:  sacerdotal  ordinances.  This  method  of  fixing  the  ratio 
may  even  have  originated  in  the  Orient. 

Colebrook"  states  that  the  ancient  Hindus  struck  gold 
coins,  "svhich  were  multiples  of  the  christnala,  the  latter 
containing  about  2;^  English  grains   fine.      According  to 

^  Equidem  miror  P.  R.  victis  gentibus  argentuin  semper  imperitasse 
non  aurum  ("Nat.  Hist."  xxxiii,  15). 

-  "Asiat.  Eesearches,"  London,  1799,  v,  91.  Meniusky,  in  his  "The- 
saurus Ling.  Orient.,"  p.  1897,  voc.  "Chcesrewani,"  says  that,  in  the  time 
of  Chosrces  (a.d.  531-79),  the  Persians  woi-shipped  the  dirhems  of  that 
monarch.  If  we  read  "  venerated  "  for  "worshipped,"  and  "  dinars  "  for 
'"dirhems,"  we  shall  probably  get  nearer  to  the  truth.  Chosrces  the 
deified  was  so  successful  in  his  wars  against  Justinian,  that  the  latter 
was  obliged  to  pay  him  an  annual  tribute  of  forty  thousand  pieces  of 
igold  (sacred  besants).  These  were  most  likely  the  pieces  that,  upon  being 
recoined  in  Persia,  were  venerated  by  its  subservient  populace.  Von 
iStrahlenberg  (p.  330)  says  that,  in  the  reign  of  Charlemagne,  the  lestiaks 
or  Oes-tiaks,  near  Samarow,  venerated  a  cufic  coin  of  the  Arabians,  from 
whom  they  had  captured  it.  In  a  tomb  near  the  river  Irtisch,  between 
the  salt  lake  lamischewa  and  the  city  Om-Iestroch,  a  flat  oval  gold  coin 
that  had  evidently  been  used  as  an  object  of  worship,  was  found  and  de- 
divered  to  Prince  Gagarin,  the  governor  of  Siberia  (about  a.d.  1715). 


Queipo/  five  christnalas  equalled  a  maslia  of  Hi  grains 
and  80  clirisnalas  a  tola,  or  suvarna,.  of  180  grains.  This 
system  appears  to  have  originated  at  two  different  periods, 
the  octonai'j  relations  belonging  to  the  remote  period  of 
the  Solar  worship,  and  the  quinquennial  to  the  Braminical 
period.  Dished  gold  coins  (scylates)  of  the  type  after- 
wards imitated  in  the  besant,  called  "  ramtenkis,"  and 
regarded  as  sacred  money,  were  struck  in  India  at  a  very 
remote  period.  The  usual  weights  were  about  180,  360, 
and  720  English  grains  (1,  2,  and  4  tolas).  One  example 
weighed  1,485  grains,  and  was  probably  intended  for 
8  tolas  sicca.  The  gold  being  alloyed  with  silver  gave  a 
pale  appearance  to  the  pieces.  The  extant  coins  contain 
no  legible  dates  or  inscriptions,  and  are  much  worn  by 
repeated  kissing.  The  emblems  upon  them  are  the  sacred 
ones  of  Kama,  Sita,  and  Huuuman.  They  were  evidently 
held  in  high  veneration  by  the  Bramins.  Facsimiles  of' 
these  coins  have  been  published  in  the  ''Journal  of  the 
Asiatic  Society  of  Bengal.'^ ^  In  the  Braminical  coinages 
the  value  of  silver  seems  to  have  been  lowered  from 
4  (to  5)  for  1  gold  ;  and  though  in  later  coinages  the  value 
of  silver  was  again  lowered,  as  before  stated,  to  about  01 
for  1  gold,  the  general  tendency  in  the  Orient  was  to 
maintain  the  value  of  silver,  and  in  the  Occident  to  raise 
that  of  gold.  So  that,  although  the  system  of  deriving  a 
profit  from  the  device  of  altering  the  ratio  was  probably 
of  oriental  origin,  the  practical  operation  of  this  system — 
certainly  at  the  periods  embraced  within  the  Greek  and 
Roman  histories — was  precisely  opposite  in  the  "Western 
world  to  what  it  was  in  the  Eastern.  The  governments 
of  Persia,  Assyria,  Egypt,  Greece,  and  Rome  made  a  profit 
on  the  coinage  by  raising  the  value  of  gold,  while  those 
of  India,  China,  and  perhaps  also  Japan,  made  their  profit 
by  maintaining,  or  enhancing,  the  value  of  silver.      In  the 

1  Queipo,  i,  449-52. 

2  "  Journ.  Asiat.  Soc.  Bengal,"  liii,  207-11. 


last-named  State  silver  was  valued  at  8  (some  say  at  4)  to 
1  of  gold,  at  one  of  which  ratios  it  stood  so  late  as 

It  is  evident  that,  by  continuing  the  use  of  this  myth, 
or  by  attaching'  a  sacerdotal  character  to  the  coinage  and 
coins  of  gold,  which  in  Italy  may  hitherto  have  only  been 
attached  to  consecrated  deposits  of  gold — a  character  which 
the  conqueror,  who  was  also  the  pontifex  maximus  of  Rome, 
was  quite  competent  to  confer  upon  it — he  would  not  only 
acquire  the  means  to  republish  upon  its  coins  the  mythology 
and  religious  symbols  of  the  empire,  altered  to  accord  with 
his  own  impious  pretensions  of  divine  origin,  but  he  would 
also  be  enabled  to  reap  profits  equal  to  those  which  the 
Ptolemies  had  derived  from  the  oriental  trade.  Indeed, 
in  this  respect  Caesar  made  another  innovation  :  he  in- 
creased the  Roman  ratio  from  9  to  12  for  1,  and  there  it 
remained  fixed,  in  consequence  of  his  ordinance,  for 
thirteen  centuries. 

That  Caesar  attached  a  sacerdotal  character  to  the  gold 
coins  of  Rome,  and  that  Augustus  and  his  successors, 
both  the  pagan  and  Christian  sovereign-pontiffs  of  the 
empire,  continued  and  maintained  this  sacred  character 
is  so  abundantly  evidenced  that  it  has  never  been  disputed. 
It  is  only  in  assigning  reasons  for  the  measure  that  numis- 
matists have  differed.  Evelyn  believed  that  the  gold  coins 
were  I'endered  sacred  to  preserve  them  from  profanation 
and  secure  them  from  abuse. ^  Others  have  found  the 
origin  of  this  regulation  in  the  desire  to  preserve  the  most 
precious  monuments  of  Roman  antiquity  from  the  melting- 
pot,  and  they  point  to  the  numerous  coinage  restorations  of 
Trajan  as  a  proof  of  the  Roman  anxiety  on  this  subject. 
The  reasons  herein  suggested  as  the  true  ones  are,  first, 
the  usefulness  of  coins  to  proclaim  monarchical  and  pon- 
tifical accessions,  and  to  disseminate  religious  instruction  ; 
and,  second,  the  profits  of  the  oriental  trade,  which  could 
only  be  secured  by  means  of  an   ordinance  enjoying  the 

1  Evelyn,  "  Medals,"  224r-7. 



sanctity  of  religious  authority.  These  reasons  even  receive 
confirmation  from  the  contrai'y  regulations  adopted  by  the 
Arabians.  Whether  in  scorn  of  the  Roman  mythology,  or 
else  to  enhance  the  value  of  the  immense  silver  spoil  which 
they  had  derived  from  the  conquest  of  the  Roman  pro- 
vinces in  Asia,  Africa,  and  Spain,  or  because  they  were 
unable  or  unwilling  to  continue  that  pretence  of  sacredness, 
partly  by  means  of  which  so  artificially  high  a  valuation  of 
gold  had  been  created  in  Europe,  it  appears  that  when  the 
Arabians  came  to  permanently  regulate  the  affairs  of  the 
conquered  provinces  (reform  of  Abd-el-Melik)  they  swept 
away  the  mythological  emblems  upon  the  coins  for  all 
time,  and  for  several  centuries  they  destroyed  the  sacred 
character  of  gold.  They  issued  plain  coins  of  constant 
weight  and  fineness,  and  reduced  the  ratio  to  the  Indian 
level  (then)  of  6^  for  1. 

Whatever  reasons  induced  Caesar  to  enhance  the  value 
of  gold,  there  can  be  no  doubt  of  the  fact.  In  the  scru- 
pulum  coinages  of  a.u.  437  the  ratio  was  10  silver  for  1 
gold  I  in  the  coinage  system  of  Sylla  (a.u.  675)  the  ratio 
was  9  for  1.  Csesar  raised  the  value  of  his  gold  coins  by 
a  single  jump  to  12  for  1  ;  in  other  words,  he  gradually 
lowered  the  aureus  from  168|-  to  125  grains  fine,  and  this 
alteration  he  sanctified  and  rendered  permanent  by  stamp- 
ing upon  the  coins  the  most  sacred  devices  and  solemn 
legends.  If  this  great  politician  of  antiquity  endeared 
himself  to  the  masses  by  thus  lowering  the  measure  of 
indebtedness,  he  secured  for  his  empire  the  approval  of 
the  patrician  and  commercial  classes  by  securing  its 
stability,  for  the  ratio  which  he  adopted  and  solemnized 
was  never  changed  until  Rome  dissolved  into  a  mere 
name — a  name  by  which  ambitious  princes  long  continued 
to  conjure,  but  which  really  belonged  to  a  dead  and  power- 
less empire. 

In  that  admirable  review  of  the  Byzantine  empire  which 
forms  the  subject  of  Gibbon's  seventeenth  chapter,  he  de- 
clares that  by  law  the  imperial  taxes  during  the  dark  ages 


were  payable  in  gold  coins  alone. ^  We  now  know  the 
reason  of  this  ordinance — the  oriental  trade  was  gone. 
The  custom  of  the  period  was  that  when  gold  coins  were  not 
paidj  silver  coins  were  accepted  instead,  at  the  sacred  weight 
ratio  of  12.  In  the  reign  of  Theodosius  the  officer  entrusted 
with  the  gold  coinage  was  the  Comes  Sacrarum  Largitionum, 
or  Count  of  the  Sacred  Trust,  one  of  the  twenty-seven 
illustres,  or  greatest  nobles,  of  the  empire.  His  powers 
supplanted  those  of  the  former  qusestori  -prsefecti  serarii 
and  other  high  officers  of  the  treasury.  His  jurisdic- 
tion extended  over  the  mines  whence  gold  was  extracted, 
over  the  mints  in  which  it  was  converted  into  coins, 
over  the  revenues  which,  being  payable  in  gold  coins, 
kept  the  latter  in  use  and  demand,  and  over  the  trea- 
suries, in  which  gold  was  deposited  for  the  service  of  the 
Scicred  emperor  or  in  exchange  for  silver.  Even  the 
woollen  and  linen  manufactures  and  the  foreign  trade 
of  the  empire  were  originally  placed  under  the  control 
of  this  minister,  with  the  view,  no  doubt,  to  regulate 
that  exchange  of  Western  silver  for  oriental  gold,  of 
which  some  remains  existed  at  the  period  of  these  elabo- 
rate and  subtle  arrangements. 

It  is  the  peculiarity  of  sacerdotal  ordinances  that 
they  long  outlive  the  purpose  intended  to  be  subserved 
by  their  enactment.  In  the  hot  climates  of  India,  Egypt, 
Palestine,  and  Arabia  the  interdiction  of  certain  meats  for 
food  may  possibly  have  been  originally  founded  upon 
hygienic  considerations — a  fact  that  may  have  commended 
this  ordinance  to  local  acceptation,  but  certainly  did  not 
earn  for  it  that  general  and  continued  observance  which  it 
owes  to  the  Braminical,  Jewish,  and  Mahomedan  religions. 
It  is  not  to  be  wondered  that  Justinian  I  rebuked  Theodoret 
the  Frank  for  striking  heretical  gold  coins,  nor  that 
Justinian  II  proclaimed  war  against  Abd-el-Melik  for 
presuming  to  pay  his  tribute  in  other  heretical  gold  ; 
but  it  certainly  seems  sti-ange  to  find  this  myth  observed 
^  Same,  in  his  Misc.  works,  iii,  460. 


in  distant  ages  and  among  distant  nations — for  example, 
to  witness  the  pagan  Danes  of  the  mediaeval  ages  solem- 
nizing their  oaths  upon  baugs  of  sacred  gold ;  to  find 
Henry  III,  of  England,  after  plundering  the  Jews  of 
London,  receiving  the  gold  into  his  own  hands,  but  tlie 
silver  by  the  hands  of  others ;  and  to  discover  that 
Philip  II,  of  Spain,  attempted  to  re-enact  in  America 
this  played-out  myth  of  idolatrous  India,  Egypt,  and 

The  importance  of  this  myth,  in  throwing  light  upon 
the  political  relations  of  the  Roman  provinces  toward  the 
Byzantine  and  Western  or  mediasval  empires,  does  not 
depend  either  upon  its  antiquity  or  the  reasons  of  its 
adoption  into  the  Roman  constitution,  nor  upon  its  general 
acceptance  or  popularity.  It  is  sufficient  for  the  purpose 
if  it  can  be  shown  that,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  the  sovereign- 
pontiff  alone  enjoyed  the  prerogative  of  coining  gold 
throughout  the  Empire,  and  that  the  princes  of  the  Empire 
respected  this  prerogative.  It  is  submitted  that  con- 
cerning this  cardinal  fact  the  evidences  herein  adduced 
are  sufficient. 

1  Procop.,  "Bel.  Got.,"  iii,  33;  Lenormant  ii,  453,  ■154  ;  Du  Chaillu, 
"  Yiking  Age  "  ;  Matthew  Paris,  i,  459;  "  Eecopilacion  de  Leyes  de  los 
Eejnos  de  las  Indias,"  law  of  1565. 



This  system  appears  in  the  Theodosian  Code — Is  probably  older — Its 
e^ssential  characteristic  is  valuation  by  moneys  of  account— Advantages 
— Previous  diversity  of  coins — Danger  of  the  loss  of  numismatic  monu- 
ments—Exportation of  silver  to  India — Difficulty  of  enforcing  contracts 
in  coins  of  a  given  metal — £.  s.  d.  as  an  instrument  of  taxation — As  an 
historical  clue— It  always  followed  Christianity— Sidelights  to  history 
afEorded  by  the  three  denominations — £.  s.  d.  and  the  Feudal  system — 
It  saved  the  most  precious  monuments  of  antiquity  from  destruction — 
Artificial  character  of  the  system — Its  earliest  establishment  in  the  pro- 
yiii(.es — In  Britain — Interrupted  in  some  provinces  by  barbarian  systems 
— Its  restoration  proves  the  resumption  of  Roman  government — This  rule 
applied  to  Britain. 

QEAECHIXG  for  the  beginniug  of  a  custom  is  like 
^  tracing  a  river  back  to  its  source  :  Ave  soon  discover 
that  it  has  not  oue  source  but  many.  "When  brevity  is 
preferable  to  precision,  it  is  sufficient  if  we  follow  an 
institution  to  its  principal  or  practical  source. 

AVe  have  elsewhere  shown  the  marks  of  chronological 
stratification  in  Roman  history — originally  decimal  and 
afterwards  duodecimal — which  resulted  from  a  change 
that,  it  is  assumed,  took  place  in  the  method  of  measuring 
the  solar  circle.  This,  we  are  persuaded,  was  originally 
divided  into  ten  parts,  each  of  36  degrees;  hence  the 
archaic  Roman  or  Etruscan  year  of  ten  months,  each  of 
36  days,  and  the  week  or  nimdinum  of  nine  days.  At  a 
later  period  the  zodiac  was  divided  into  twelve  parts,  each 
of  30  degrees,  whence  the  year  of  twelve  months,  each 
of  30  days.^      In  these  two  systems  we  have   the   basis  of 

1  By  some  writers  the  year  of  360  days  has  been  erroneously  called  a 
lunar  year,  but  in  fact  a  year  contains  nearly  thirteen  lunar  months.    The 


the  decimal  and  duodecimal  methods  of  notation,  which 
are  so  strangely  intermingled  in  all  Eoman  numbers  and 
proportions,  and  which  also  appear  in  £.  s.  d.  Thus,  the 
number  of  solidi  to  the  libra  was  five,  and  the  number  of 
sicilici  to  the  libra  twenty,  both  of  which  are  decimal 
proportions.^  On  the  other  hand,  the  number  of  denarii 
to  the  sicilicus  was  twelve,  and  the  ratio  between  the 
metals  was  twelve,  which  is  duodecimal." 

Those  writers  whose  researches  into  monetary  systems 
are  bounded  by  the  narrow  conclusions  of  Adam  Smith's 
"  Wealth  of  Nations  "  or  Tooke's  "  Histoi^  of  Prices,'' 
usually  attribute  the  origin  of  £.  s.  d.  to  William  the 
Norman  or  to  Charlemagne,  and  their  explanation  of  the 
system  is  commonly  confined  to  that  of  the  £.,  which 
they  regard   as  the  symbol  for  a  pound  weight  of   silver, 

year  of  twelve  months  was  originally  solar,  and  was  always  astrological. 
Many  of  the  early  institutes  mentioned  by  Livy,  Pliny,  and  Censorinus 
were  evidently  taken  from  the  laws  of  conqnered  and  obliterated  Etriiria, 
and  falsely  attributed  to  Romulus,  Numa,  and  other  creations  of  Eoman 
fancy.  Among  these  institutes  was  the  change  from  ten  months  of  36 
days  to  twelve  months  of  30  days  to  the  year  (Livy,  i,  19). 

'  The  "  pound  "  of  money  is  to  be  discerned  diu'ing  the  decay  of  Attic 
liberty.  The  Eomans  used  the  term  "  pondus"  to  mean  100  drachmas,  and 
the  Greeks  iised  the  "talenton"  of  money  before  them.  Twenty 
drachmas  (silver)  equalled  in  value  one  stater,  and  five  staters  were 
valued  at  a  talenton,  which  the  Eomans  called  a  pondus.  The  Greek 
ratio  was  10.  Most  of  the  confusion  on  this  subject  has  resulted  from 
the  refusal  of  numismatic  writers  to  recognise — what  their  own  monetary 
.systems  of  to-day  attest — that  every  name  of  a  weight  also  meant  at  the 
same  time  a  sum  of  money,  which  had  no  relation  to  such  weight- 
Humphreys,  Chambers,  and  Putnam  all  furnish  confused  references  to 
the  pondus  of  100  drachmas.  The  Persians  in  the  time  of  Cyrus  appear 
to  have  had  a  system  of  £.  s.  d.  very  like  what  the  Eomans  afterwards 

-  A  remarkable  custom,  which,  it  may  reasonably'  be  conjectured,  ori- 
ginated in  the  changed  subdivision  of  the  zodiac,  prevailed  among  the 
Goths.  With  them  ten  meant  twelve,  and  an  hundred  was  six  score. 
The  custom  still  prevails  in  Essex,  Norfolk,  and  Scotland  (Sir  Francis 
Palgrave,  i,  97).  Some  vestige  of  the  score  system  still  lingers  in  the 
French  names  for  numbers.  Curiously  enough,  too,  the  method  of 
counting  by  scores  was  employed  by  the  Aztecs  (Prescott,  p.  35). 


or  else  a  pound  weight  of  silver  coins.  The  diilerent 
books  in  -which  this  delusion  is  repeated  are  probably 
sufficiently  numerous  to  stock  a  good-sized  library  ;  yet 
it  can  be  demolished  in  a  few  words.  Neither  the  con- 
tents of  the  Xorman  or  Carlovingian  nor  of  any  other 
coins  sustain  this  theory,  neither  is  it  sustained  by  tlie 
texts  of  the  Carlovingian  or  any  other  period.  The  libra 
of  money  (not  the  whole  triad-  of  £.  s.  d.)  is  at  least  five 
hundred  and  may  be  fifteen  hundred  years  older  than 
Charlemagne,  being  clearly  defined  in  the  Theodosian  Code 
(lib.  xiii,  tit.  ii,  11),  of  which  the  following  is  the  text  and  , 
literal  translation  : — "  Ita  nt  pro  singulis  libris  argenti 
quinos  solidos  inferat  " — "  So  that  for  each  libra  of  money 
five  solidi  are  to  be  understood.'^  ^  This  portion  of  the 
code  is  attributed  by  souae  commentators  to  the  constitu- 
tions of  Constantine,  by  others  to  a  law  of  Honorius  and 
Arcadius  (a.d,  397) ;~  but,  as  shown  elsewhere,  the  libra  of 
five  gold  pieces  is  older  than  either.  It  was  used  for  five 
gold  aurei  by  Caligula,  Probus,  and  Diocletian,  It  fre- 
quently occurs   in    the    texts  of   Valens,'^    Arcadius,    and 

1  It  is  from  this  passage  in  the  Theodosian  Code  that  the  learned 
Boeckh,  Eome  d'Lisle,  and  Bodin  regarded  the  libra  as  a  weight,  and  de- 
duced the  supposed  ratio  between  silver  and  gold  of  14'4  to  1.  It  is 
needless  to  say  that  if  the  libra  was  a  money  of  account  and  not  a  weight, 
the  deduction  is  erroneous.  There  is  no  instance  of  such  a  ratio  as  14'4, 
or  thereabouts,  in  Roman  or  Greek  history — a  fact  which  by  itself  should 
have  rendered  these  erudite  persons  more  cautious.  The  Code  of  Jus- 
tinian (liber  x,  tit.  Ixsvi,  de  argenti  pretio)  also  gives  the  ratio,  "pro. 
libra  argenti,  5  solidi." 

^  Queipo,  ii,  56. 

3  The  cupidity  of  the  Duke  of  Moesia  induced  him  to  withhold  pro- 
visions from  the  Gothic  refugees,  whom  Yalens,  the  sovereign-pontiff,  had 
permitted  to  enter  that  province,  so  that  a  slave  {mancipium)  v!a.s  given 
by  the  Goths  for  a  loaf  of  bread  {unum  panem)  and  ten  libras  (of  money) 
for  a  carcass  of  meat  {aid  decern  libras  in  unum  carnem  onercarentur). 
It  is  evident  that  ten  libras  meant  precisely  what  the  law  declared 
it  should  mean,  namely,  50  solidi  (equal  to  the  contents  of  about  32 
English  sovereigns '.  for  ten  pounds  weight  of  gold  would  contain  as  much 
as  464  English  sovereigns.  Gibbon  avoids  the  difficulty  by  saying,  "the 
word  silver  must  be  underetood  ;"  but  such  was  not  the  custom  of  that 


other  sovereign-pontiffs  of  the  fourth  to  the  eighth  century, 
Avherej  except  in  one  instance,  it  always  means  five  solidi. 
According  to  FatherMariana  (^'De  Ponderis  et  Mensures"), 
the  siciHcus — known  in  a  subsequent  age  as  the  gold 
shilling — was  struck  as  early  as  the  first  century  of  our 
era,  for  he  states  that  in  his  own  collection  were  gold  pieces 
of  this  weight,  struck  by  Faustina,  Augusta,  Vespasian, 
and  Nero.  Others  of  Justinian,  weighing  16  grains,  are 
now  in  the  Madrid  collection.  The  denarius  of  the  early 
empire,  of  which  25  in  value  went  to  the  aureus,  tallied  in 
weight,  though  not  in  fineness,  with  the  half -aureus.  In 
the  reign  of  Caracalla  24  denarii  went  to  the  aureus,  the 
ratio  of  value  between  the  metals  remaininsr  unchansred. 
Such  is  briefly  the  genesis  of  £.  s.  d. 

The  translation  of  "  argentum  "  into  "  money  '^  needs 
no  explanation  to  Continental  readers,  for  in  all  the  Conti- 
nental languages — French,  Spanish,  Italian,  etc. — "silver'^ 
means  ''  money.^'  This  custom  is  dei'ived  from  the 
Eomans  of  the  Empire,  with  whom  "  argentum  ''  meant 
money,  as  the  following  examples  sufficiently  prove  : — 
Argentariae  tabernte,  bankers'  shops  (Livy)  ;  argentaria 
inopia,  want  of  money  (Plautus)  ;  argentarius,  treasurer 
(Plautus)  ;  argentei  sc.  nummi,  or  money  (Pliny,  xvi, 
3)  ;  ubi  argenti  venas  aurique  sequuntur  (Lucretius, 
vi,  808)  ;  cum  argentum  esset  expositum  in  asdibus 
(Cicero)  ;  emunxi  argento  senes  (Terrence)  ;  con- 
cisum  argentum  in  titulos  faciesque  minutas  (Juvenal, 
xiv,  291) ;  tenue  argentum  venjeque  secundas  {ibid.,  ix, 
31).  The  Eomans  in  turn  got  this  term  from  the 
ancient  Greeks,  whose  literature  they  studied  and  whose 
customs  they  affected.  One  of  the  Greek  names  for 
money  was  "  arg-yrion,"  from  ar gyros,  silver.  The  Hebrew 
word  for   money  was   caseph,  literally    silver,    alluding  to 

time,  any  luore  that  it  is  no^^.  "When  silver  was  undei-stood  it  meant 
money  and  not  metal.  Said  the  law  :  "  So  that  for  each  libra  (libris 
argenti)  five  solidi  (of  gold)  are  to  be  undei-stood  "  (Jornandes,  '*  De  Geta- 
rum,"  c.  XX vi;  Gibbon,  ii,  597,  4to  ed.). 


the  coined  shekels  of  the  Babylonians.  The  same 
custom,  i.  e.,  using  the  term  "  silver  "  for  money,  is  to  be 
found  in  the  most  ancient  writings  of  Egypt  and 

In  a  letter  of  Honorius  and  Theodosius  II  to  the  Pre- 
fect of  Gaul,  written  in  our  year  of  418,  after  suggesting 
the  formation  of  a  council  to  regulate  the  affairs  of  that 
province,  the  emperors  proposed,  in  case  its  members  failed 
to  attend  the  meetings,  to  subject  them  to  fines  of  three 
and  five  "  libras  of  gold  "  each.  It  is  evident  that  the 
^' libras  ^'  here  mentioned  are  moneys  and  not  weights  ; 
for  five  Koman  libras  weight  of  gold  are  equal  to  the 
quantity  contained  in  232  English  sovereigns  of  the 
present  day,  and  this  would  have  been  a  preposterously 
heavy  mulct  for  mere  non-attendance.  On  the  other 
hand,  a  libra  of  account  represented  by  five  gold  solidi, 
would  not  have  contained  more  than  one-fourteenth  of 
this  quantity  of  gold,  and  it  is  evident  that  this  was 

These   researches   into    the    origin    of    £.    s.    d.   were 
necessary  in  order  to  determine  its  essential  chai'acteristics 
as   a   sj'stem  of  valuations  and   proportions.      The  names 
of  the    subdivisions  of  money  have   in  all  ages  been  used 
to    denote   the    relative    proportions    or    subdivisions     of 
other  measures,  as  of  weight,  area,  capacity,  etc.,  and  it 
is  this   practice    which   is   responsible  for    much  of   that 
confusion  on  the  subject  of  money  that  distinguishes  econo- 
mical literature.      For  example,  £.  s.  d.  were   at  one  time 
used   as   proportions    of  the   pound    weight  for  weighing 
bread,  at    another   time  as  proportions   of    the    acre    for 
■  measuring   land.      In   the  former    case   £.  represented    a 
pound  weight  of  bread,  s.  an  ounce,  etc.  ;  in  the  latter  £. 
^  meant    one  and  a-half    acres  and  d.  a  rod  of  land.       Sir 
Francis  Palgrave  (i,  93)  says  that  many  instances   of  this 
practice  are  to  be  found  in  charters  of  the  sixth  century. 
,The  mischief  of  it  lies  in  the   insinuation  it  conveys  that 
^  Statute  51,  Henry  III  (1267) ;  Fleetwood's  "  Chvonicum  Preciosum." 


because  a  "  pound  "  weight  can  be  the  unit,  integer,  or 
standard  of  -weight,  and  a  "pound^'  measure  (one  and  a-half 
acres)  can  be  the  unit  of  superficial  area, so  a  "pound"  sum 
of  money  can  be  the  unit  of  money,  which  in  the  last  case 
is  physically  impossible.  The  unit  of  money  can  never  be 
one  "  pound, ^^  but  must  necessarily  be  all  the  "pounds," 
under  the  same  leg-al  jurisdiction,  joined  together.  In 
other  words,  the  unit  of  money  is  and  must  necessarily 
be  all  money. ■"■ 

Taking  the  essential  character  of  £.  s.  d.  to  be  a  system 
of  valuation  by  moneys  of  account,  as  distinguished  from^ 
a  system  of  valuation  by  coins,  it  must  have  possessed 
merits  that  rendered  its  adoption  highly  necessary  and 
advantageous.  We  shall  find  that  this  was  actually  the 
case.  Previous  to  the  adoption  of  £.  s.  d.  there  was. 
commonly  but  one  denomination  of  money  and — except 
in  the  peculiar  monetary  system  of  the  Roman  Common- 
wealth— it  usually  related  to  an  actual  coin.  With  the 
Romans  this  coin  was  successively  the  ace,  denarius,, 
sesterce,  and  aureus.  Even  when  two  of  these  kinds  of 
coins  circulated  side  by  side — as  the  ace  and  the  denai'ius, 
or  the  sesterce  and  aureus — sums  of  money  were  always 
couched  in  one  denomination,  never  in  both.  We  now 
say  so  many  pounds  and  shillings  and  pence,  perhaps  com- 
bining some  of  each  denomination  in  one  sum  ;  or  we  may 
say  so  many  dollars  and  cents,  or  so  many  francs  and 
centimes.  Down  to  the  era  of  £.  s.  d.  the  Romans,  in  ex- 
pressing sums  of  money,  only  used  one  term.  So  long  as 
only  one  or  two  or  three  kinds  of  coins  were  current  at 
the  same  time,  there  was  no  inconvenience  in  this  custom  ; 
but  when  coins  came  to  be  made  of  different  sizes  and 
weights  and  of  several  different  metals — bronze,  silver,, 
and  gold — some  of  them  of  limited  tender  and  highly 
over-valued,  like  the  bronze  coins  of  to-day,  one  term 
for  money  became  inexact  and  inconvenient.  This  is  one 
of  the  reasons  that  led  to  the   adoption  of  £.  s.  d. 

^  See  chapter  on  this  subject  in  the  author's  "  Science  of  Money." 


In    the  last    quartei'  of  the    third    century  the   Eoraau 
i  empire  was  divided  between  four  Cassars,    to  whom   was 
'  afterwards  added    he    Avhom    Sir    Francis    Palgrave     has 
'  rather     effusively  termed   "  our    own   Carausius/'      Even 
before   this   division   took  place,  the    diversity   of  bronze 
and  silver   coins  was   so   great   as   to   produce    confusion. 
With  four  emperors   almost  daily   adopting  new    designs 
:  for   coins,  and    several  thousand   unauthorised   moneyers 
expelled  from  Mount  Caslius  and  other  places  to  ply  their 
trade  in  every  province  of  the   Roman   empire,   the    con- 
fusion became  intolei'able.      Without  some    device  by  aid 
of   which  this    maddening   variety    of  types   and   weights 
could   be  readily  harmonised    and   valued,  it  became   im- 
possible   to    carry  on  the    operations    of   trade.      Such    a 
device  was  £.  s.  d. 

The     infinite     diversity     and     number    of     local     and 
I  imperial   silver  coins    had    long   since   broken  down  that 

■  fragment  of  the  fiduciary  system  of  money  which  was. 
attempted  to  be  revived  by  Augustus  ;  it  had  effaced  all 
the  influence  of  mine-royalties  ;  it  had  nullified  all  the 
effects  of  mint-cliarges  and  seigniorage.  The  relative^ 
value  of  coins,  which  Rome  was  formerly  content  to  read 
in  the  edicts   of  her  consuls    or  emperors,  she   was  now 

!  almost  compelled  to  determine  with  a  pair  of  scales.  The 
\  imperial  government  could  scarcely  have  observed  this 
symptom  of  popular  distrust  without  grave  concern.  In 
proportion  as  such  coins  lost  fiduciary  value,  and  rested 
upon  that  of  their  metallic  contents,  so  did  the  empire 
lose  importance    to  the  provinces    and   the    proconsuls  to 

■  the  local  chieftains.  Furthermore,  when  money  ceased 
'  to  derive  any  portion  of  its  value  from  limitation  of 
I  issue    or    from    sacerdotal   and    imperial  authority,  why 

might  not  the  proconsuls  feel  at  liberty  to  issue  circu- 
lating money  as  well  as  the  sovereign-pontiff  ?  why  not 
I  the  under-lords  as  well  as  the .  proconsuls  ?  why  not 
foreigners  as  well  as  citizens  ? — why  not  anybody  or 
everybody  ? 


Besides    this,  it  is   to  be    remembered   that   the   coins 
of  Rome  were  designed    to    illustrate   its  mythology   and! 
history,  and  that  they  constituted   its  most  precious  and 
•enduring    monuments.        Upon   them   were  stamped    the! 
story   of  its  miraculous  origin,    the    images   of  its   gods, 
demi-gods    and    heroes,    the  symbols  of  its  religion,  thei 
spirit    of    its   laws,    and    the   dates   of  its   most   glorious 
achievements.      All  these  now  threatened  to  disappear  in: 
the    melting-pot.      The  monuments    had  come   to   be   re- 
garded   only   as  so   much  bullion,    and   every   provincial 
governor  or  barbai'ian  king  would  be  tempted   to  reduce  i 
them  to  metal,  in  order  that,  upon  recoining  them,  his  own  \ 
upstart    image  might   shine    in   the   glass  that   had  once 
reflected  a   Romulus,  a   Ctesar,  or   an  Augustus.      There 
was  but  one  way  to  stop    such  a  calamity,  and  that  way 
was   monopoly   of    the   coinage   and  arbitrary  valuation ; 
but  this  had  to  be  done  through  some  new  device,  for  the 
old  ones  were  worn  out,   and  would  be  seen  through  and 
rejected  at  once.^      The  efforts  to  save  the  old  monuments 
would  justify  a  slight  discrimination  of  value  at  the  onset 
in  favour  of  certain  precious  issues,  and  this  discrimination 
might  be  extended  and  enlarged  as  time  went  on,     Rome 
had   hitherto    kept    its     most    sacred  numismatic  monu- 
ments   from   the  furnace   by  means  of  a    golden  myth,   a 
fixed  ratio,  and  the  restriction   of  exports.     Without   dis- 
turbing  either   of   these    arrangements,   it   was  now  pro- 
posed to  supplement  them  with  the  device  of  £.  s.  d. 

The  diversity  of  coins,  and  the  hope  of  restoring  some 
of  their  lost  fiduciary  value,  furnished  reasons  for  the 
adoption  of  a  triad  of  monetary  terms,  in  the  place  of 
that  single  term  in  which  the  Romans  had  hitherto 
couched    their   valuations    and    contracts ;    but  tlie  same 

^  In  a  less  superstitious  age  perhaps  not  even  the  device  of  £.  s.  d. 
would  have  allayed  the  fear  that  the  valuations  would  be  changed,  or 
have  kept  the  coins  from  the  melting-pot.  But  to  the  Romans  that  law 
was  a  sacred  one,  which  forbade  the  melting  down  of  old  coins  (Digest  i, 
•c.  de  Auri  pub.  prosecut. ;  lib.  xii,  13 ;  Camden,  "  Brit.,"  p.  105). 


considerations  do  not  explain  why  these  denominations 
were  essentially  ideal  ones,  nor  why  they  remain  so 
still.  The  explanation  is  simple  enough.  It  will  be- 
found  in  the  physical  impossibility  of  adding  together 
quantities  of  various  materials  and  producing  a  quotient 
of  one  material.  If  £.  means  a  piece  of  gold,  s.  a  piece 
of  silver,  and  d.  a  piece  of  bronze,  then  as  a  matter  of 
fact  it  is  impossible  to  add  them  together  and  produce  a 
sum  which  shall  represent  a  quantity  of  any  one  of  these 
metals.  Hence  these  denominations  are  essentially  ideal. 
HoAvever,  as  logic  seldom  stands  in  the  way  of  practical 
legislation,  we  may  be  sure  that  it  was  not  this  difficulty 
which  compelled  the  Eomans,  when  they  adopted  £.  s.  d., 
to  make  them  ideal  moneys,  or  moneys  of  account,  that 
would  logically  add  together  ;  it  was  the  practical  diffi- 
culty of  enforcing  contracts  payable  in  coins  of  a  particular 
metal.  Numbers  of  the  mine-slaves  had  revolted,  or- 
escaped,  to  swell  the  armies  of  the  Goths  and  other  mal- 
contents ;  the  produce  of  the  Eoman  mines  had  become 
irregtilar  ;  the  oriental  trade  had  absorbed  vast  quantities- 
of  silver.^  A  contract  to  pay  sesterces  meant  so  many 
silver  coins,  and  the  name  sesterce  had  been  so  long- 
wedded  to  a  silver  coin  that  it  was  found  easier  to  establish 
a  new  denomination  than  divorce  sesterce  from  silver. 
The  same  may  be  said  of  the  gold  aureus.  £.  s.  d.  being 
imaginary  moneys,  might  be  represented  by  either  gold,, 
silver,  or  bronze  coins  at  pleasure  of  the  government,  and 
as  best  suited  the  convenience  of  the  times  or  the  equity 
of  payments." 

1  Pliny,  "  Natural  History,"  vi,  23,  and  xii,  18. 

"  In  1604  the  Chief  Justices  of  England  decided  that  £.  s.  d.  were 
imaginary  moneys,  and  meant  concretely  whatever  coins  the  sovereign 
from  time  to  time  might  decree  they  should  mean.  They  deduced  this 
conclusion,  not  only  from  the  spirit  of  the  common,  but  also  from  the 
principles  of  the  civil  law  ;  and  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  such  was  its 
legal  significance  at  the  period  of  its  original  adoption  in  Eome  (State- 
Trials,  ii,  114;  Digest,  xviii,  11). 


It  is  scarcel}'-  necessary  to  turn  from  tlie  public  to  the 
private  influences  wliicli  urged  the  adoption  of  £.  s.  d. 
upon  the  imperial  and  pontifical  mind,  A  monetary  system 
which  by  insensible  degrees  might  be  made  to  slip  away 
from  all  metallic  anchorage  or  limitation,  needed  no 
further  recommendation  to  a  needy  treasury.  Yet  it  still 
had  another  one.  The  diversity  of  races  that  constituted 
the  population  of  the  Empire  and  a  nascent  feudal 
system  both  stood  in  the  way  of  any  uniform  system  of 
taxation,  while  the  distance  between  Rome  and  the  capital 
of  each  province  greatly  multiplied  frauds  upon  the 
treasury,  and  threw  too  much  power  and  profit  in  the 
hands  of  the  provincial  vicars  or  proconsuls  and  the 
greedy  farmers  of  the  revenues.  The  facility  to  regulate 
the  value  of  various  coins  which  the  adoption  of  £.  s.  d. 
promised  to  afford,  placed  in  the  hands  of  the  sovereign- 
pontiff  the  means  of  levying*  a  tax  that  could  neither  be 
evaded  nor  intercepted. 

Thus  many  reasons  and  interests  combined  to  recommend 

■the  system  of  £.  s.  d.  It  brought  into  harmony  the  diversity 
of  coins  and  coinages  ;  it  promised  to  restore  some  of  the 
lost  value  of  bronze  and  silver  coins,  and  to   conserve  or 

■obliterate  (at  pleasure)  the  ancient  and  sacred  types  ;  it 
offered  to  remedy  the  difficulties  produced  by  the  irregular 
supplies  of  the  mines,  and  by  the  heavy  exports  of  silver  to 
India ;  it  placed  a  future  choice  of  other  remedies  in  the 
hands  of  the  emperor  ;  and,  finally,  it  was  competent,  at  a 
pinch,  to  solve  the  problem  of  suddenly  recouping  an  empty 
treasury.  Under  the  system  of  £.  s.  d.  any  coin  or  piece 
of  money  could  be  legalised  or  decried  at  pleasure  of 
the  government,  and  any  value  could  be  put  upon  it  that 
seemed  expedient  or  desirable.  All  that  was  needed  was 
a  brief  edict  of  the  supreme  sovereign,  and  at  once,  with 
military  precision,  this  or  that  piece  of  money  took  its 
allotted  station  among  the  £.  6\  d.,  and  there  it  served  in 
the    capacity   and    with   the    rank   assigned    to   it   by  its 

■imperial  master.^ 

'  On  different  occasions  the  same  coin  has  ranked  as  a  penny  three- 


'  In  the  fourth  century  the  d.  was  represeuCed  by  a 
silver  coin,  and  the  s.  by  a  gold  coin  containing  about  18 
'  (afterwards  16)  grains  of  fine  gold,  and  the  £  by  five 
'  large  solidi  (afterwards  called  besants),  each  containing  72 
'(afterwards  64)  grains  of  fine  gold. 

!  If  we  follow  the  adoption  of  £.  s.  d.  in  the  various 
■provinces  of  Europe — for  example,  Gaul,  Britain,  Spain, 
or  Germany — it  will  be  found  that  it  never  preceded,  whilst 
it  invariably  followed,  the  establishment  of  Roman 
Christianity.  It  therefore  furnishes  a  valuable  guide  to 
the  date  of  such  establishment,  and  to  the  restoration  of 
Roman  government.  £.  s.  d.  was  adopted  in  Gaul  by 
Clovis,  in  a  part  of  England  it  was  established  by  Ethel- 
bert,  -whilst  in  other  parts  it  was  rejected  by  the  uncon- 
verted Gothic  kings,  his  contemporaries.^  So  the  Arian 
Goths   of    Spain,    down    to   the    close  of  Roderic's   reign, 

half-pence,  two-pence,  and  even  three-pence.  A  shilling  was  at  one  time 
tepresented  by  a  gold  coin,  at  another  by  a  silver  coin.  Examples  of  this 
character  often  occur  in  the  ordinances  of  the  mediaeval  kings  of  France; 
and  there  is  reason  to  believe  that  the  sovereign-pontifEs  of  Eome  more 
than  once  altered  the  legal  value  of  their  silver  and  bronze  issues. 

^  The  name  of  the  sicilicus,  which  is  evidently  derived  either  from  the 
fourth  of  the  aureus  or  else  from  the  fifteen-grain  gold  pieces  of  Sicily, 
was  applied  to  the  Xorse  aurar  in  the  laws  of  Ethelbert  (Sections  33-35). 
From  the  context  it  is  evident  that  fifty  scats  are  less  in  value  than  three 

■  shillings,  hence  that  the  purely  silver  scat  of  five  to  the  gold  shilling 
was  not  yet  in  use,  and  that  the  scats  alluded  to  were  the  old  rude  ones 
of  composite  metal,  weighing  7i  grains  and  upwards,  and  of  varying  and 
uncertain  metallic  contents. 

The  shilling  of  Ethelbert's  laws  is  the  earliest  mention  of  that  coin  in 
England.  There  was  as  yet  noXorse  analogue,  either  for  the  libra  or  the 
penny  ;  in  other  words,  there  was  no  twelfth  of  the  aurar  nor  any  twenty- 
aurar  piece,  hence  there  was  no  further  application  of  £.  s.  d,  at  that 

■  time  to  Gothic  coins.  The  Roman  "  pounds,  shillings,  and  pence  "  had 
yet  to  be  fully  established  in  England.  Some  of  the  gold  siciliei  of  the 
heretical  Roger  II,  of  Sicily,  bear  the  legend  in  Arabic  :  "  One  God ; 
Mahomet  is  His  prophet."  On  the  other  is  the  phallic  sign.  A  specimen, 
somewhat  worn,  weighed  by  the  writer,  contained  15  grains  gross. 
These  shillings  were  evidently  copied  from  older  Sicilian  coins  of  the 
same  weight  and  type. 


refused  both,  tlie  Rornau  religion  and  the  Roman  sjsteir 
of  money,  and  the  Saxons  would  have  none  of  either  until 
Charlemagne  bent  tbeir  stubborn  necks  to  the  yoke  of  the 
Roman  gospel. 

Another  valuable  historical  sidelight  is  derived  from 
£.  s.  d.  The  arithmetical  relations  of  these  moneys  of 
account  were  originally,  but  have  not  been  always, 
12x20  =  240.       Sometimes     they    were     5x48  =  240,     or. 

4  X  60  =  240,  or  even  (exceptionally)  5  x  60  =  300.      When- 
ever this  is  observed  it  affords  a  sure  indication  of  grafting.! 
The  Gothic  ratio  between   the   precious  metals  was  8,  the 
Arabian  ratio  6^,  and  the  Roman  ratio  12.     Consequently,! 
when   the    Roman   arithmetical   relations   of  £.  s.  d.  werei 
grafted  on  Gothic  or  Arabian,  or  Gothic- Arabian,  monetary 
systems  they  had  to  be  modified  to  suit  the  local  valuation 
of  gold  and  silver.^      For  example,  in  the  eighth  century 
in   Roman   Christian   Gaul  (ratio    of    12)  it  took   12  silver 
pence,  eacb  of  16  grains,   to   equal    in   legal   value  1  gold 
sicilicus  of   similar  weight,  whilst   in   the  Gothic  parts  of 
Britain,  where   the  Arabian  ratio  prevailed  (ratio  of  6^), 

5  silver  pence,  each  of  20  grains,  sufficed  ;  so  that  if,  as 
convenience  dictated,  the  newly-introduced  £.  was  still  to 
consist  of  240  pence,  it  would  have  to  be  valued  at  48 
shillings  of  account,  and  this  was  accordingly  done." 
Modifications  in  the  weights  of  the  silver  penny,  and 
efforts  to  harmonise  the  two  principal  conflicting  ratios — 
the  Roman  and  Arabian — will  explain,  not  only  tbe  re- 
maining variations  of  £.  s.  d.  above  alluded  to,  but  also 
many  other  obscure  problems  connected  with  the  early  | 
monetary  systems  of  England.  ! 

We  have  seen  how  £.  s.  d.  arose  out  of  the  circum- 
stances of  a  decaying  empire  ;  we  shall  now  see  how  it 
accommodated    itself  to    those    circumstances,    so   as  to 

^  The  system  of  Offa,  king  of  Mercia,  was  J  Gothic-Arabian,  and,  as  is 
elsewhere  shown,  some  of  his  coins  had  Arabian  inscriptions  upon 

3  System  of  Ethelbert,  king  of  Kent,  725-60. 


promote  the  very  disease  it  was  in  part  designed  to 
remedy.  The  empire  was  falling  to  pieces^  splitting  into 
many  parts.  First,  it  had  one  Csesar,  then  two,  three, 
four,  or  more.  Even  when  it  got  rid  of  its  Thirty  Tyrants, 
and  reduced  the  number  to  six,  the  diversity  of  coins  and 
coinages  was  too  bewildering  for  practical  purposes.  To 
harmonise  and  regulate  these  coinSj  as  well  for  other 
reasons,  £.  s.  d.  was  adopted.  Yet  by  accommodating 
itself  to  a  diversity  of  moneys,  this  system  prevented  the 
evil  from  righting  itself  through  the  simple  and  efficacious 
means  of  re-coinage.  Dispensing  with  the  necessity  of 
uniformity,  it  encouraged  heterogeneity  by  rendering  it 
less  intolerable,  and  thus  facilitated  that  splitting  up  and 
subdivision  of  the  coining  authority  which  characterised 
the  matured  feudal  system,  and  lent  it  strength  and 
support.  Devised  in  part  to  unify  moneys  and  centralise 
authority,  it  became  no  insignificant  aid  to  decentralisa- 
tion and  feudalism.  On  the  other  hand,  but  for  its 
influence  the  Roman  coins,  and  with  them  the  memories 
which  they  invoked  and  the  sacred  myths  they  per- 
petuated, would  have  been  destroyed,  and  the  modern 
world  would  have  had  to  read  the  history  of  the  past  in 
the  unmeaning  baugs  of  Scandinavia,  the  saigas  of  Frakk- 
land,  or  the  composite  scats  of  the  Anglo-Saxon  heptarchy. 
Returning  to  the  historical  clue  afforded  by  the  adop- 
tion of  £.  s.  d.,  the  reader  will  scarcely  fail  to  have  been 
impressed  with  the  extreme  artificiality  of  this  system. 
Hundreds  of  books  have  already  been  written  upon  it, 
and  hundreds  more  will  probably  yet  be  written  upon  it 
before  its  true  character,  mischievous  bearing,  and  incon- 
gruity with  the  modern  age  of  progress  will  be  recognised 
and  acted  upon.  Allusion  is  here  made,  not  merely  to  a 
system  of  three  denominations,  as  £.  s.  d.,  nor  to  a  mingled 
Tai-decimal  and  duodecimal  notation,  nor  to  its  character 
as  money  of  account,  but  to  the  mingling  in  this  system 
of  imperial  with  provincial  and  municipal  or  other 
coins ;  of  seignioried  with  non-seignioried  coins ;   of  coins 



witli  various  degrees  of  legal  tender  ;  of  coins  of  local 
with  others  of  extensive  legal  tender ;  of  native  witli 
foreign  coins  made  legal  tender  ;  of  redeemable  with  non- 
redeemable  coins;  of  governmental  with  private  (bank) 
issues  of  various  degrees  of  legal  tender  ;  and  of  non-j 
interest-bearing  with  interest-bearing  legal-tender  issues. 
In  these  respects  and  others  the  principles  of  all  the 
monetary  systems  of  the  present  day  originated  in  the 
Roman  imperial  system  of  £.  s.  d.,  and  so  far  as  they 
follow  it  they  interpose  important  obstacles  to  the  prac- 
tice of  equity,  the  just  diffusion  of  wealth,  and  the  progress 
of  civilisation.^ 

The  £,  c<?.  d.  system  was  as  much  unfitted  for  the  Gothic 
kingdoms  or  fiefs  of  the  dark  ages  as  it  was  suitable  for 
the  Empire.  In  a  former  work  it  was  shown  that  there 
existed  a  natural  harmony,  or  tendency  toward  harmonj'^, 
between  systems  of  government  and  systems  of  money>  j 
just  as  there  is  between  social  phases  and  language.  For 
example,  if  one  of  the  sentences  of  Cicero  or  Tacitus 
were  imputed  to  a  savage  orator,  no  matter  how  eloquent 
or  renowned,  the  unfitness  of  the  phraseology,  and  its  lack 
of  harmony  with  the  social  phase  of  the  speaker,  would  at 
once  expose  the  blunder  or  imposture.  Similarly,  if  an 
£.  s.  d.  system  of  money  were  attributed  to  a  tribe  of 
Zulus,  the  incongruity  of  the  collocation  would  imme- 
diately stamp  it  as  untrue.  For  not  only  are  three 
denominations  of  money  too  artificial  a  means  of  valuation 
to  fall  within  the  mental  compass  of  a  barbarian  tribe,  one 
of  them  (the  £.)  was  always  an  ideal  money,  and  all  of  them 
were  maintained,  and  could  only  be  maintained,  by  a  mint 
code  of  extreme  complexity,  and  covering  mining,  minting, 
seigniorage,  artificial  ratio  between  the  precious  metals, 
and  an  hundi*ed  other  subjects,  concerning  which  neither 
Zulu  nor  Goth  ever  had  a  clear  conception.  For  these 
various  reasons  the  artificial  system  of  £.  s.  d.  furnishes  an 
unerring  clue  to  historical  researches  during  the  dark 
^  "  Science  of  Money,"  chapter  vi. 


ages.  In  a  previous  chapter  similar  clues  were  found  in 
the  golden  myth  and  the  sacred  ratio  of  twelve  ;  in  the 
present  one  we  shall  follow  the  clue  of  the  three 

The    text  of  the  Theodosian  Code  implies  the    use  of 
£,  s.  d.  at  Eome  and  in  all  the  Christian  provinces  of  the 
Empire.      The  non- Christian  provinces  wei-e  those  parts 
of  Gaul  and  Britain  which,  at  the   time  of  the  promulga- 
i  tion  of  this  code,  were  temporarily  under   the  control   of 
'Anglo-Saxon,    Frankish,  and  other  barbarian   chieftains. 
:  The    letter   of    Honorius   and  Theodosius   II    (a.d.    418) 
I  implies  the  use  of   £.  s.  d.  at  that  date  in   southern   and 
■'  perhaps  central  Gaul.   From  496  to  561,  during  the  govern- 
ments of  the  Koman  patricians  Clovis  and  Clothaire  I,  the 
I  £.  s.  d.  system  was  probably  established  throughout    the 
!  whole  of  Gaul,  except  Brittany,  Burgundy,  and  Provence. 
The  Roman  coins  found  buried  with  the  body  of  Childeric,^ 
and  more  especially  the  Roman  offices  and  titles  accepted 
by  the   Merovingian   Frankish  princes  down  to  the  sixth 
century,  when  image-worship  was  insisted  upon,  or,  still 
worse,  when  the  assassin  Phocas  was  worshipped  at  Rome, 
imply  the  continuance  of  Roman  government  in  Gaul  until 
■  that  period.      After  this  time,  and  until  the  reign  of  Pepin, 
many  of  the  provinces  forgot  their  allegiance.^      Over  and 
over  again  the  Franks  had  professed  and  evinced  their  will- 
ingness to  live  under  Roman  law  and  Roman  government, 
and  they  proved  their  sincerity  and  good  faith  in  these  pro- 
fessions by  accepting  Roman  ecclesiastics  as  the  adminis- 
trators of  that  law  and  the  representatives  of  that  govern- 
1  ment.      So  long   as   Rome   inculcated  the  worship   of   a 
heavenly  deity  the  Franks  continued  loyal  to  the  empire, 
but  when  the  Roman  pontiff  fell  at  the  feet  of  Phocas,  and 

.    1  His  tomb  was  opened  in  the  seventeenth  century  (Morell,  67). 

2  The  Merovingians  struck  gold  under  authority  of  the  Basileus  until 
the  reign  of  Theodebert,  who  struck  gold  for  himself.  Yet  even  after 
this  period  many  of  the  Merovingians  coined  under  authority  o£  the 


the  detested  religion  of  emperor- worship  seemed  about 
to  be  revived  in  the  very  fane  of  religion,  they  turned 
upon  the  Empire.-^  From  Theodebert  to  Pepin  the  Short 
the  Eoman  monetary  system  was  interrupted  in  Gaul. 
Its  place  was  partly  filled  with  a  Frankish  system,  in  which 
the  relative  value  of  gold  and  silver,  no  longer  kept  in  place 
hy  the  sacred  myth  of  Eome,  fell  back  to  the  old  Druidical 
(and  Etruscan)  ratio,  or  else  obeyed,  to  a  certain  extent, 
the  influence  of  the  Moslem  mint-laws  of  Spain  and  Southern 
■Gaul,  for  it  became  1  to  10  instead  of  1  to  8.  The  gold  sou, 
or  solidus,  was  valued  in  Merovingian  laws  at  40  silver 
deniers,  or  denarii  ;  the  little  sou,  or  sicilicus,  was  valued 
in  the  same  laws  at  10  silver  deniers,  the  sicilicus  and  denier 
containing  the  same  weight  of  metal.  The  first  fact  is  from 
the  texts  of  the  period,  the  last  from  the  coins  themselves. 
The  establishment  of  this  system  was  the  mark  of  Frankish 
independence  from  the  empire.  It  lasted  about  a  century 
and  a  half ;  after  that  Gaul  again  became  a  Eoman 

In  short,  the  monetary  system  of  £.  s,  d.  was  established 
wherever  Eoman  government  prevailed — in  Italy,  Greece, 
Asia  Minor,  Armenia,  Egypt,  Carthage,  Spain,  Gaul, 
Eritain,  and  Germany.  It  was  not  established  by  any 
state  or  people  not  subject  to  Eome,  never  by  the  pagan 
Angles,  Jutes,  Saxons,  Franks,  Sclavs,  or  Huns,  and  never 
hy  the  Moslem,  whether  in  Arabia,  Egypt,  Africa,  Spain, 
France,  or  Persia.  After  the  dry  bones  of  the  sacred 
Empire  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Turks,  in  the  fifteenth 
century,  the  latter,  in  order  to  accommodate  their  num- 
mulary language,  so  far  as  pi'acticable,  to  the  customs  of 
the  conquered  Greek  provinces,  employed  the  £.  and  the 
d.  to  mean — not  indeed  what  they  formerly  meant — but 

^  Charlemagne,  at  the  Council  of  Frankfort  (794),  denounced  the  wor- 
ship of  the  imperial  images. 

-  The  earliest  rehabilitation  of  the  Roman  system  appeal's  in  the  capi- 
"tulary  of  Pepin  and  Carloman,  a.d.  743,  wherein  the  sol  is  valued  at  12 
ideniei-s  (Guizot,  iii,  27). 


something  that  suggested  it,  and  this  practice  afterwards 
found  its  way  into  other  provinces  of  Turkey  ;  but  it  had 
no  essential  connection  with  the  £.  s.  d.  system,  and 
employed  only  two  denominations  instead  of  the  charac- 
teristic three. 

Although  it  is  probable  that  the  libra  of  money  (not 
the  £.  s.  d.  system)  continued  to  be  used  in  the  Roman 
cities  of  Britain  from  the  Roman  period  down  to  the 
time  when  these  cities  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Anglo- 
Saxons,  we  have  no  certain  evidence  of  the  fact.  The 
earliest  implication  of  the  £.  s.  d.  system  in  any  docu- 
ment now  extant  occurs  in  the  barbarian  laws  of  Ethel- 
bert,  A.D,  561—616  (ss.  33—5),  where  certain  fines  are 
levied  in  shillings.  No  "  libras  ^'  are  mentioned  ;  nor  no 
denarii  for  twelfths  of  the  Norse  aurar  -^  hence  no 
entire  adoption  of  the  system  can  be  positively  inferred. 
The  shilling  of  Ethelbert  was  probably  either  a  Latin 
name  for  a  coin  identical  in  weight  with  the  Norse  aurar, 
or  an  anachronism,  inserted  by  copyists  at  a  later  date." 
In  neither  case  would  this  text  afford  any  certain  indi- 
cation when  the  £.  i<?.  d.  system  was  re-introduced 
into  Britain ;  and  there  is  no  other  evidence  that 
can  be  relied  upon  of  an  earlier  date  than  the  reign 
of  Ina,  which  was  toward  the  end  of  the  seventh 

Measured  by  the  clue  of  £.  s.  d.,  the  Anglo-Saxon 
chieftainships  interrupted  the  continuity  of  Roman 
government  in  some  parts  of  Britain  during  an  interval  of 
more  than  two  centuries,  that  is  to  say,  from  a  date  some- 

1  See  Roman  gold  coin  of  Canterbury  mentioned  in  my  "  Ancient 
Britain,"  eh.  xix. 

-  Bishop  Fleetwood  ("  Chronicum  Preciosum,"  pp.  52-4)  gives  ex- 
amples from  Brompton's  translations  of  the  laws  of  Ethelstan  and  Ina, 
in  which  the  terminology  and  valuations  of  money  were  changed  to  suit 
the  circumstances  of  the  translator's  times.  Guerard  and  De  Yieniie 
give  examples  of  similar  alterations  in  the  ancient  texts  of  the  FrankLsh, 
Lombardian,  Frisian,  and  Burgundian  codes  of  law. 


what  later  than  the  edict  of  Arcadius  and  Honorius  to 
the  reign  of  Ina.  In  other  parts  there  was  scarcely  any 
interval  at  all,  for  many  of  the  Koman  cities  of  Britain 
held  out  long  after  the  legions  departed,  and  even  then, 
they  capitulated  on  terms  which  involved,  if  they 
did  not  expressly  admit,  the  imperial  supremacy  of 

So  far  as  it  goes,  the  clue  of  £.  s.  d.  harmonises  with 
the  myth  of  gold  and  the  sacred  ratio,  and  they  all 
corroborate  those  other  evidences  which  proclaim  that 
except  during  a  comparatively  brief  interval,  which  was 
probably  no  greater  in  Britain  than  in  Gaul,  the  former 
remained  a  province  of  the  empire  from  the  reign  of 
Claudius  down  to  a  much  later  period  than  is  commonly 

^  Mr.  Freeman  deems  it  probable  that  at  the  end  of  the  sixth  century- 
there  were  still  Roman  towns  in  Britain  tributary  to  the  English  chief- 
tains, rather  than  occupied  by  them.  Sir  Francis  Palgrave  (i,  vi)  extends 
the  Roman  occupation  of  some  British  cities  down  to  the  seventh  cen- 
tury.  Du  Bos,  Savigny,  and  Gibbon  concur  in  a  similar  belief  with 
regard  to  some  of  the  cities  of  Gaul. 



Proofs  that  the  earlier  sagas  were  altered  in  the  medii'eyal  ages — 
Among  these  is  their  frequent  mention  of  baug-money :  an  institution 
which  did  not  survive  the  contact  of  Norsemen  and  Romans — Progressive 
order  of  Xoi-se  moneys — Fish,  vadmal  and  baug  moneys — The  baug 
traced  from  Tartary  to  Gotland,  Saxony  and  Britain — Gold  baugs  acquired 
a  sacerdotal  character — This  was  probably  immediately  after  Xorse 
and  Eoman  contact — Subsequent  relinquishment  of  baug-money  and 
the  adoption  of  coins — Proof  that  Csesar  encountered  Xorse  tribes  in 
Britain,  derived  from  his  mention  of  baugs — This  view  corroborated  by 
archaeology  and  philology — Subsequent  Xorse  coinage  system  of  stycas, 
scats,  and  oras — Important  historical  conclusions  derived  from  its  study. 

TT  needs  but  a  cursory  examination  of  tlie  earlier 
-*-  sagas  to  be  satisfied  that  they  have  been  grossly 
mutilated.  They  jumble  together  events  hundreds  of 
years  apart  ;  they  mingle  details  which  belong  to  com- 
munities as  yet  ignorant  of  Eoman  customs  with  the 
affairs  of  communities  well  acquainted  with  them  ;  they 
resurrect  the  Turkish  or  Scythian  forefathers  of  the 
Norsemen,  and  set  them  down  in  the  midst  of  mediaeval 
Christian  saints  ;  they  omit  all  mention  of  Eome  or 
Eoman  affairs,  or  the  Eoman  religion,  or  the  causes  of 
difference  between  the  Norsemen  and  the  Empire  ;  they 
eschew  dates,  ignore  the  calendar,  and  commit  the  pagan 
festivals  to  oblivion.  The  silly  explanation  which  has 
been  offered  to  us  of  this  disorder  is  that  the  sagas  were 
popular  songs,^  which  were  repeated  by  word  of  mouth  for 
centuries  before  they  were  committed  to  writing,  and  that 
this    custom    produced  the    confusion,    omissions,    anach- 

1  Tacitus  ("  Germania,"  iii)  mentions  the  folk-songs  of  the  Xorthern 


ronisms,  and  otlier  defects  wliicli  now  characterise  tliem. 
There  might  have  been  a  time  when  such  an  explanation 
was  sufficient,  but  the  class  of  people  who  offer  them 
forget  that  the  world  grows  and  that  knowledge  is  cumu- 
lative. We  now  know  that  language  without  a  written 
literature  to  fix  its  terms  and  meanings  is  too  ephemeral 
to  last  for  centuries,  indeed,  that  a  few  generations  mark 
the  utmost  time  during  which  it  will  remain  unaltered. 
It  was  reliance  upon  this  principle  that  led  to  the  dis- 
trust of  Macpherson's  forged  "  Ossian,^'  and  that  compels 
us  to  regard  as  mutilations  the  Eddas  as  produced  by 
Saemund  Sigfusson  and  Snorri  Sturlason.^ 

In  the  present  connection  the  liability  of  unwritten 
language  to  rapid  mutation  proves  one  of  two  things — 
either  that  the  earlier  sagas  are  mediae val  fabrications  in 
Latin,  translated  into  the  mediaeval  Norse  and  re-translated 
into  the  vernacular,  which  is  precisely  the  case  with  Mac- 
pherson^s  spurious  "  Ossian  '^  ;  or  else  they  are  mutilations 
of  early  Gothic  or  runic  originals.  Their  repleteness  of 
historical  materials  and  local  colouring  belonging  to  the 
earlier  centuries  of  our  era,  leads  at  once  to  the  conclusion 
last-named."  It  is  this  local  colouring  which  marks  the 
distinction  between  a  mutilation  and  a  forgery  out  of 
the  whole  cloth.  Macpherson  had  no  historical  dates 
before  him,  therefore  he  was  forced  to  forge  his  entire 
work ;  Sigfusson  found  plenty  of  history  in  the  old 
written  sagas,  so  he  merely  mutilated  them,  and,  with 
the  sobriquet  of  ''The  Learned,'^  achieved  that  immoi- 
tality  which  is  ever  the  reward  of  virtue  and  fidelity.  If 
any  further  proof  than  that  afforded  by  the  nature  of 
language  itself  were  needed  to  corroborate  these  views,  it 
will  be  found  in  the  frequent  mention  of  anachronical 
moneys  in  the  sagas.      An   example   of  this  sort  will  be 

^  The  historian  of  Iceland  [A..D.  1056-1133)  and  his  foster-grandson 
(A.D.  1178-1241). 

2  Charlemagne  made  a  collection  of  these  sagas,  hut  these  are  now 
"lost "  (Note  to  Murphj's  Tac.  "  Germ.,"  iii,  probably  from  Eginhard). 

C40THIC  MONEYS.  153 

quoted  in  the  present  chapter  from  the  Egil  Saga  ;  others, 
will  appear  as  the  aro-ument  develops. 

The  evolution  of  Norse  monetary  systems,  whether  in 
lestia,  Saxony,  Scandinavia,  Frakkland,  Britain,  Russia, 
or  Iceland,  usually  proceeded  in  the  following  manner: — 
First,  fish  and  vadmal  (cloth)  money  ;  second,  baug,  or 
ring-money;  third,  imitations  of  pagan  Roman  coined 
money  ;  fourth,  Norse  pagan  coinage  system  (partly  de- 
rived from  the  Roman  system)  of  stycas,  scats,  and  oras  ; 
fifth,  intrusion  of  Moslem  coinage  system  of  dinars,  mara- 
vedis,  and  dirhems ;  sixth,  replacement  of  the  last  by 
Christian  Roman  coinage  system  of  £.  5.  d.  This  pro- 
gression  did  not  occur  simultaneously  in  the  various  coun- 
tries named,  because  the  Goths  used  coined  money  in 
Britain  before  they  employed  fish-money  in  Iceland  ;  it 
Avas  the  usual  order  of  progression  in  each  country  or 
petty  kingdom  by  itself.  From  the  period  of  their  ori- 
ginal settlement  in  Britain  down  to  that  of  their  contact 
with  the  Brigantes,  the  Norsemen  used  no  coined  money  ; 
indeed,  they  had  little  or  no  commerce,  and  lived  chiefly 
by  hunting,  fishing,  and  plundering.  After  each  raid 
upon  the  enemy  the  plunder  was  "carried  to  the  pole^'^ 
and  there  divided.  It  is  evident,  from  numerous  analo- 
gous examples  in  the  sagas,  that  in  case  of  dispute  th& 
rival  claimants  fought  it  out  at  once,  and  the  survivor 
took  the  lot.  This  is  a  custom,  not  of  trading  communi- 
ties, but  of  predatory  bands. 

The  first  money  of  the  Norsemen  in  Britain  was 
probably  fish,  as  was  the  case  in  Norway^  and  in  Iceland 
down  to  the  close  of  the  last  century.  Sild,  bring,  or 
herring,  is  still  used  to  mean  money,"  and  the  scad  or  scat 
(corrupted  to  scot),  a  fish  of  the  same  genus,  has  the 
same  meaning  in  North  Britain.'^      There  are  suggestions 

'  Frostathing  Laws,  svi,  2. 

-Poole,  "  Anglo-Saxon  Coins,"  i,  7. 

^According  to  Mr.  T.  Baron  Eussell's  "  Current  Americanisms  "  (London^ 
1893)  "  scads  "  is  still  used  for  "  current  coin  "  in  some  parts  of  the- 
United  States. 


of  fish-money  in  tlie  expressions  "  Rome-scat,"  "  scot- 
free,"  "  scot-and-lot,"  etc.  Following  fish,  the  money  of 
the  Norsemen  in  Britain  was  vadmal,  a  homespun  cloth, 
measured  by  the  arm's  length;  still  later  they  used 
bangs,  or  ring-money.  It  was  not  until  after  all  this  that 
they  began  to  strike  coins. 

Bangs  were  anciently  that  money  of  Scythia,  northern 
China,  and  northern  India  of  which  a  reminiscence  still 
survives  in  the  baugle  or  bangle.^  At  a  remote  period 
baug-money  was  introduced  from  Scythia  into  Egypt. 
Representations  of  it  appear  upon  the  stone  monuments  of 
Thebes.  As  for  dates,  Egyptian  chronology  has  been  so 
ruined  in  the  various  attempts  made  to  fit  it  successively 
into  the  mythologies  of  Assyria,  Greece,  and  Rome,  that 
no  reliance  can  be  placed  upon  it.  The  bangs  engraved 
at  Thebes  are  round  rings,  which  are  represented  as 
being  placed  in  the  scales  to  be  weighed.  No  peculiarity 
of  form  and  no  stamp-marks  distinguish  them  in  the 
sculptures — facts  that,  coupled  with  the  weighing,  led  the 
author  in  a  previous  work  to  doubt  that  they  were  money. 
Since  that  time  "  dozens  of  rings  (stamped),  with  the 
names  of  Khuen-Aten  and  his  family,  and  moulds  for 
casting  rings"  have  been  found  in  the  ruins  of  Tel-el- 
Amarna.'  It  cannot  now  be  doubted  that  such  rings 
were  money,  and  we  may  also  feel  tolerably  confident 
that  they  formed  the  principal  circulating  medium  of 
Egypt  during  the  time  of  the  Hucsos  or  Scythian  kings. 
From  Egypt  baug-money  made  its  way  down  the  eastern 
coast  of  Africa,  where  the  early  Portuguese  and  Spanish 
navigators  found  it,  the  latter  giving  to  the  rings  the 
name  of  manillas,  or  manacles.  They  were  used  in  Dar- 
foor  (latitude  12°  north,  longitude  26°  east)  so  late  as  1850, 
for  Mr.  Curzon  saw  several  chests  full  of  gold  baugs  from 

^  The  pinched  bullet-money  of  Cochin  China  also  appears  to  be  a  modi- 
fication of  the  bang. 

-  Address  of  Dr.  Flinders  Petrie,  before  the  Oriental  Congress,  London, 
September  6th,  1892.     Khuen  is  evidently  the  Tartar  "  kung,"  or  king. 


that  country  at  Assouan  in  1854.  They  are  still  used  on 
the  AVest  coast,  from  whence  the  present  author  had  one 
of  copper,  shaped  like  the  letter  C,  that  is  to  say,  with 
the  two  ends  of  the  ring  left  apart. ^  Another  line  of 
bangs  is  traceable  from  Scythia  to  Gotland,  where  they 
ai'e  mentioned  in  sagas,  which,  although  in  their  present 
form  belonging  to  an  era  subsequent  to  the  employment 
of  baugs  for  money,  are  evidently  mutilated  versions  of 
more  ancient  texts."  Egil  having"  been  paid  two  chests 
of  silver  as  indemnity  for  his  brother,  "  recites  a  song  of 
praise,"  in  which  he  alludes  to  the  indemnity  as  "  gul- 
baug,"  or  gold  rings,  meaning  money." 

The  suspected  mutilations  of  the  sagas  are  corroborated 
by  the  known  mutilations  of  the  laws :  "  If  a  hauld 
•wounds  a  man,  he  is  liable  to  pay  6  baugar  to  the  king, 
€ach  worth  12  oras  ;  if  an  arboriu-madr  wounds  a  man,  he 
has  to  pay  3  baugar,  and  a  leysingi  (freedmau)  2,  a 
leudrman  12,  a  jarl  24,  a  kning  48,  12  oras  being  in  each 
baug,  and  the  fine  shall  be  paid  to  those  to  whom  it  is  due 
by  law.  All  this  is  valued  in  silver."'*  The  text  of  this 
law  proves  that  it  assumed  its  present  form  at  three 
different  dates.  The  first  belongs  to  the  barbarous  period, 
when  the  indemnity  was  fixed  in  Gothic  baugs  ;  the  second 
to  the  Roman  period,  when  the  baugs  were  valued  in 
j  heretical  oras,  or  Roman  sicilici ;  and  the  third  to  the 
■  pei'iod  when  the  oras  vrere  valued  in  Christian  silver 
pennies.  The  original  baug  appears  to  have  weighed 
■about  as  much  as  three  sovereigns  of  the  present  day. 
A  C-shaped  figure,  like  that  of  the  African  baug  above 

^  "  Histoiy  of  Money,"  133.  Baugs,  or  ring-money,  are  mentioned  by 
Pliny  ("Xat.  History,"  xxiii,  1). 

^  Bangs  appear  to  have  been  also  used  by  the  tribes  of  the  Baltic  coasts 
after  the  Goths  conquered  or  assimilated  with  them,  for  the  term  was 
•employed  by  the  Salic  Franks,  and  is  still  employed  in  French  to  mean 

^  Egil  Saga.  The  Dutch  still  give  the  name  of  •"gulden"  to  certain 
silver  coins. 

*  Frostathing  Laws,  iv,  53  ;  Du  Chaillu,  i,  549. 


mentioned,  is  twice  repeated  on  a  stone  slab  from  the 
Kivikgrave,  near  Cimbrisham,  a  monument  assigned  by 
archaeologists  to  a  very  remote  period.  Whether  it  re- 
presents the  bang  or  not  cannot  at  present  be  determined,^ 
but  there  is  some  reason  to  think  it  does,  from  the  fact 
that  gold  baugs  seem  to  have  been  clothed  with  a  sacer- 
dotal character.  For  example,  Egil  fastened  a  gold  baug 
on  each  arm  of  the  dead  Thoroff  before  he  buried  him/ 
and  a  gold  baug  was  paid  for  his  bride. '^  Bagi  was  also 
the  Parthian  name  for  divine  or  sacred  ;  it  appears  on 
all  the  coins  of  the  Arsacidse.*  The  originals  of  the- 
Frostathing  laws  may  have  descended  from  the  period 
before  the  Goths  revolted  from  Roman  control. 

Specimens  of  Gothic  baug-money  are  still  extant. 
Gold,  silver,  and  iron  baugs  will  be  found  in  the  collec- 
tions of  Bergen,  Christiania,  Newcastle,  York,  and  other 
centres  of  Norse  antiqviities.  There  are  Gothic  gold  bangs- 
(about  one  inch  in  diameter)  and  copper  and  iron  bangs- 
in  the  London  and  Paris  collections.  During  the  last 
century  "  a  vast  quantity  of  small  iron  ring-money  was 
exhumed  in  the  west  of  Cornwall,  and  one  of  these  was 
deposited  by  Mr.  Moyle  in  the  Pembroke  collection.'^  ^ 
After  the  era  of  baugs  the  Goths  used  coins.  Says  Du 
Chaillu :  "  A  barbaric  imitation  in  gold  of  a  Roman 
imperial  coin  was  found  with  a  skeleton  at  Aarlesden  in 
Odense,  amt  Fyen,^^  a  district  and  island  about  86  miles 
from  Copenhagen.^  A  barbaric  imitation  of  a  Byzantine 
coin  of  tbe  fifth  century  was  found  in  Mallgard,  Gotland.^ 
A  barbaric  gold  coin,  falsely  stamped  with  the  image  of 
Louis  le  Debonnaire,  was  found  in  Domberg,  Zealand,  and 
is  now  in  the  Paris  collection. 

iFig.  28,  in  Du  Chailk,  88. 

-  Du  Chaillu,  ii,  476. 

^  Frostathing  Laws,  vi,  4  ;  Du  Chaillu,  ii,  16. 

*  Geo.  Eawlinson,  "  Seventh  Monarchy,"  p.  QQ. 

^  Walter  Moyle's  works,  i,  259. 

«  Du  Chaillu,  i,  262.  '  Du  Chaillu,  i,  275. 


When,  sevei'al  centuries  before  our  era,  the  Celts  came 
into  contact  with  the  Greeks,  whether  in  Spain,  Gaul,  or 
Britain,  they  began  to  strike  Celtish  coins  in  imitation  of 
Greek  originals.  In  like  manner,  after  the  Goths  came 
into  contact  with  the  Romans,  or  rather  after  they  had 
learnt  to  abhor  the  religion  of  the  Romans  and  despise 
their  arms,  whether  in  Moesia,  Saxony,  Zealand,  or 
Britain,  they  began  to  strike  Gothic  coins  in  imitation  of 
Roman  originals.  Such  imitations  are  found  in  the  unin- 
scribed  stycas,  scats,  and  oras  of  early  Britain — a  fact 
which  is  deduced  as  well  from  the  Latin  name  of  the 
ora  as  the  general  type  and  composition  of  all  the  pieces. 
AVhen  Goth  and  Roman  first  met  in  Britain  M'as  when 
i  ,the  ring-money  was  still  used  by  the  former — a  period 
clearly  established  by  the  following  passage  from  the 
principal  work  ascribed  to  Julius  Cassar.  Speaking 
generally  of  the  tribes  whom  he  encountered  in  Britain 
(B.C.  55),  Cffisar  says  :  "  Utuntur  aut  tere,  aut  uummo 
aureo,  aut  annulis  ferreis,  ad  certum  pondus  examinatis 
pro  nummo  " — "  They  used  either  bronze  (money)  or  gold 
money,  or  iron  rings  of  a  certain  (determined)  weight  for 
money. ^^  The  bronze  metal,  Caesar  adds,  was  imported.^ 
It  is  evident  that  this  ring-money  was  not  used  at  the 
time  by  the  Celtic  or  Gaelic  tribes  of  Britain,  because 
these  tribes  used  coined  monej",  which,  as  a  measure  of 
value,  is  more  precise  and  convenient  than  baugs.  The 
Celts  also  came  from  Gaul  and  Belgium,  where  coined 
money  was  already  in  use.  Their  productions  and  com- 
merce were  too  varied  for  the  employment  of  so  rude  a 
measure  of  value  as  baugs.  Ctesar  says  their  numbers 
were    countless,    their    buildings     exceedingly   numerous, 

^  De  Bell,  "  Gall.,"  v,  12.  Several  readings  of  this  important  passage 
are  given  in  Henry's  "  Hist.  Brit.,"  ii,  238.  The  reading  in  the  text  is  from 
a  MS.  of  the  tenth  century.  Mr.  Hawkins  discovered  that  this  passage 
had  been  materially  corrupted  in  later  copies  (Hawkins,  "  Silver  Coins," 
p.  8,  and  Ch.  Knight,  "Hist.  England,"  i,  15,  citing  remarks  on  ancient 
coins  in  "  Moneta  Historica  Brit.,"  p.  102). 


their  wealth  great  in  cattle  and  cultivated  lands^  and  their 
industry  diversified^  including  not  only  pasturage  and 
agriculture,  but  also  mining  for  tin  and  iron.^  Baugs 
had  not  been  used  by  the  Celtic  tribes  for  nearly  three 
centuries,  that  is  to  say,  not  since  they  had  learnt  the 
superiority  of  coins  from  the  Greeks.  On  the  other  hand, 
their  use  among  the  Norsemen  at  this  or,  perhaps,  even 
a  later  period  is  proved  by  the  sagas,'  and  the  conclusion 
that  the  ring-money  found  in  Britain  by  Cfesar  belonged 
to  the  Norse  tribes  in  the  remoter  parts  of  the  island, 
and  indicated  their  presence  there,  seems  to  be  well 
sustained.'^  ^Vhen  added  to  the  evidences  of  archaeology; 
customs,  and  language,  adduced  by  "Wright,  Stillingfleet, 
Pinkerton,  Du  Cbaillu,  Dawkins,  Evans,  and  other  writers 
on  the  subject,*  the  body  of  proof  that  the  Norse  settle- 
ment of  Britain  antedates  its  Roman  settlement  becomes 
difficult  to  overthrow. 

The  Norse-British  coinage  system  consisted  of  stycas, 
scats,  and  oras.  The  styca  was  a  small  bronze  coin,  struck 
from  the  composition  derived  probably  from  the  melting 
down  of  bronzes,  and  containing  about  70  per  cent,  of 
copper  and  20  of  zinc,  the  remainder  consisting  of  tin, 
silver,  lead,  and  a  minute  proportion  of  gold.  The 
extant  stycas  are  confined  by  numismatists  to  Northumber- 
land, but  a  coin  of  similar  description,  and  used  as  a 
divider  for  the  scat,  must  have  been  employed  in  Kent  and 

'  Even  after  Caesar  had  ravaged  their  lands,  the  Belgians  were  able  to 
send  him  supplies  of  com  to  Gaul  ("  De  Bell.  Gall.,"  v,  19,  20). 

-  The  pagan  Xorse  kings  who  ruled  in  Ireland  used  haug-money  until 
they  were  driven  out  of  that  country  in  the  twelfth  century.  This  is 
what  Sir  John  Lubbock,  in  his  article  on  Money  in  the  "  Nineteenth 
Century,"  loosely  called  the  "  ring-money  of  the  ancient  Celts." 

^  Ctesar  (v,  9  and  11)  alludes  to  the  civil  wars  which  preceded  his 
arrival  in  Britain,  and  which,  since  the  Celts  were  all  of  one  religion  (the 
Druidical),  we  may  reasonably  surmise  were  occasionedby  the  encroach, 
ments  of  the  heretical  Norsemen. 

*  Doom-rings  and  numerous  other  Norse  antiquities  have  been  found  in 


elsewhere.      The  scat  was  an   electrum    coin^  struck  from 

the  composition  resulting  from  the  melting   down  of  gold 

,and  silver  jewellery.       The    ora  was   a   coin   of   pure    or 

,  nearly   pure  gold.      Originally  containing  about  30  grains 

I  of  gold,  it   fell  successively  to  22i,  20,    16,  and  even   13 

grains.      The  electrum  scats  weighed  about   the   same  as 

the    oras.      The    early  oras    are   known    among   modern 

numismatists   as    gold    scats.      Sometimes   the  scats  were 

■  stamped   with  the  svastica,  or    with  runes — a  peculiarity 

'  that   does    not    appear    upon    any   coins     issued    by    the 

southern  kings  of  the  heptarchical  period.      Eight  stycas 

went   to  the  scat,  and  eight  scats  to  the  ora.      Owing  to 

the  composite  nature  of  the  scats,  the  ratio  between  gold 

and  silver  is  indeterminable.      Judging  from  the  numeri- 

cal  relations  between  scats  and  oras,  the  ratio  was  intended 

to  be   8    for  1.      The  coin  ora  must  not  be  confused  with 

the  weight   ora,  which  was  afterwards    the  eighth  of   the 

mark  weight ;  nor  must  the  money  of  account,  called  the 

mark  (of  which  more  anon),  be  confused  with  the  weight 


There  is  a  remarkable  similarity  between  the  Gothic 
coinage  system  and  that  of  ancient  Japan.  There,  too, 
coins  were  made  respectively  of  gold,  electrum,  and 
bronze ;  the  gold  and  the  electrum  coins  were  of  the 
same  weight,  and  the  relative  value  of  these  even-. 
weighted  coins  indicated  that  of  the  metals  which  com- 
posed them.^  On  the  other  hand,  the  Norse-Bi'itish 
systems  were  distincth'  non-German.  Styca  and  scat 
are  Norse  terms,  and  were  not  used  in  Germany;  mark  is 
also  a  Norse  term,  and,  according  to  Agricola,  it  was 
employed  by  the  Goths  many  centuries  before  it  was  known 

'  The  Japanese  system  is  fully  described  in  "  Money  and  Civilisation,'* 
chap.  sx.  The  reader  must,  however,  not  argue  too  much  fi'om  this, 
resemblance.  In  the  ruder  societary  life  of  the  Anglo-Saxons  exchanges 
were  comparatively  few  and  simple,  and  the  monetary  system  was  of 
jninor  importance  ;  in  the  refinement  of  modern  Japanese  life,  it  affected 
the  foundations  of  equity  and  civil  order. 


in  Germany.  The  runic  letters  and  svastica  are  both 
'Gothic  and  pagan.  The  Germans  did  not  strike  gold  coins. 
The  ratio  of  8  for  1  is  Gothic  ;  that  of  Germany  followed 
the  Eoman  law,  and  down  to  the  thirteenth  century  was 
•either  12  for  1  or  some  mean  between  this  and  the  Gothic 
ratio.  Finally,  the  independent  issues  of  gold  and  elec- 
trum  coins  were  essentially  Gothic,  because  the  Goths, 
down  to  the  eighth,  ninth,  or  tenth  centuries,  were  pagans, 
and  refused  to  acknowledge  the  pope  ;  whilst  the  Germans, 
from  the  date  when  their  country  was  made  a  province 
•of  the  Empire,  had  invariably  bowed  to  its  ecclesiastical 

The  Anglo-Saxon  coins  were  not  issued  by  any  central 
authority,  but  by  each  local  chieftain  independently  of 
the  others.  For  this  reason  the  valuation  of  the  coins, 
and  of  the  metals  of  which  they  were  made,  probably  greatly 
varied.  More  important  than  all,  the  whole  number  of 
coins  was  uncertain  and  subject  to  the  vicissitudes  of  war. 
A  successful  attack  upon  the  Romans,  who,  down  to  the 
sixth  or  seventh  century  still  held  many  of  the  walled 
towns  of  Britain,  might  in  a  single  day  have  doubled  the 
entire  circulation  of  a  given  kingdom  ;  whilst  a 
repulse,  followed  by  Roman  pursuit  and  reprisals, 
might  as  suddenly  have  reduced  the  circulation  to  a 

The  reader  will  bear  in  mind  that  the  ora  described 
above  was  the  original  Gothic  ora,  afterwards  called  the 
gold  shilling  (gull  skilling),  not  what  the  ora  became 
in  later  ages.  As  time  went  on  it  continually  fell  in 
weight ;  the  ratio  of  silver  to  gold  changed  from  8  for 
1,  to  64  and  7^  for  1,  then  to  10  for  1,  then  to  12  for  1 ; 
the  number  of  scats — or,  as  they  were  afterwards  called, 
pennies — to  the  ora,  changed  from  8  to  5,  then  to  4,  then 
to  20,  12,  20,  and   16.^      In   one   instance    there  were  15 

1  Domecday  Book;  Ruding,  i,  315.  The  relation  of  four  scats  to  the 
•ora  ■was  enacted  prior  to  the  middle  of  the  tenth  century  ('' Judicia  Civi- 
2tatis,"  Londonise  ;  Ruding,  i,  309). 


miuutffi  to  the  ora.  '^  Ora,  vernacula  aura,  Dauis  ore, 
f  uit  olim  geuus  mouetas,  valens,  15  minuta.'^^  These  may 
have  been,  not  copper  coins,  but  silver  half-pence."  It 
would  be  tedious  to  explain  the  endless  combinations  to 
which  the  changes  in  the  three  terms — viz.,  weight,  ratio, 
and  value — gave  rise.  Eventually  the  ora  became  a 
money  of  account,  and  as  the  ora  weight  was  one-eighth 
of  the  mark  weight,  so  the  ora  of  account  was  valued  at 
one-eighth  of  the  mark  of  account,  which,  during  the 
Norman  and  Plantagenet  eras,  consisted  of  five  gold 
mai'avedis,  each  weishing-  two-thirds  of  the  Roman 
solidus.  This  mode  of  fixing  the  value  of  the  ora 
gave  rise  to  new  and  still  more  perplexing  numismatic 
problems,  all  of  which,  however,  are  readily  solved  by 
the  guides  herein  offered.  For  example,  in  the  time 
of  William  I,  there  were  still  some  actual  gold  oras 
extant,  or  mentioned  in  unexpired  leases.  These  Avere 
valued  in  Domesday  Book  at  20  pennies,  because  their 
namesake,  the  ora  of  account,  was  in  England  one-eighth 
of  the  mark  of  account,  and  the  mark  of  account  was 
two-thirds  of  the  libra  of  account.  As  the  latter  then 
consisted  (in  England)  of  240  actual  silver  pennies,  so 
the  mark  was  valued  at  160  pence,  and  the  gold  ora  was 
valued  at  20  pence. 

If  this  mode  of  calculation,  which  was  emploj'ed  in 
England  after  the  Xorman  conquest,  be  applied  to  the 
ancient  Gothic  system,  in  which  the  gold  ora  was  of  the 
same  weight  and  value  as  one-fourth  of  the  gold  solidus 
or  mancus,  it  would  follow  that  the  mark  of  account  con- 
sisted of  two  mancusses  instead  of  five  maravedis.  Thus, 
if  an  ora  is  20  pence  and  a  mai-k  is  160  pence,  then  there 
are  eight  oras  to  the  mark.  If  there  were  four  oras  to 
the  mancus,  there  were  consequently  two  mancusses  to  the 
mark.      The    fallacy  of  this  mode    of    calculation,   which 

'  Dulinerus,  in  Du  Fiesne,  in  Fleetwood,  p.  27. 
-  The  minuta  of  the  Netherlands  was  the  les,  or  Es  (Budelius). 



some  numismatists  have  used,  arises  from  the  employment 
of  the  ora  in  two  senses — firstly,  as  a  money  of  account, 
which  it  was  in  the  eleventh  century  ;  and,  secondly,  as 
an  actual  gold  coin,  which  it  was  probably  from  the 
second  to  the  seventh  or  eighth  century. 



The  empire  of  Islam — Conquest  of  the  Roman  provinces  in  Asia, 
Africa,  and  Spain — Administrative  policy  of  the  moslem — Monetary 
regulations — Numismatic  declaration  of  independence — Origin  of  the 
dinar  and  dirhem — Singular  ratio  of  value  between  silver  and  gold — 
Probable  reasons  for  its  adoption — Its  worth  as  an  historical  guide — As 
a  monetary  example — Permanence  of  the  tale  ratio  between  dinar  and 
dirhem — Moslem  remains  in  the  Western  and  Northern  States  of  Europe  : 
Spain,  France,  Burgundy,  Flanders,  Britain,  and  Scandinavia — Coinage 
system  of  Abd-el-Melik — Prerogative  of  coinage  vested  in  the  caliphate 
— Individual  coinage  unknown — Emir  coinages — These  substantially 
ceased  with  the  reform  of  Abd-el-Melik — Legal  tender  in  Egypt,  Spain, 
and  India — ^ Weights  and  fineness  of  the  dinar  in  various  reigns — Same 
of  the  dirhem — Frontier  ratios  between  gold  and  silvei-. 

ISLAM,  like  Rome,  was  a  sacred  empire  ;  the  sovereign 
was  both  emperor  and  high-priest,  but  with  this 
remarkable  difference,  that  whilst  the  Roman  emperor 
demanded  to  be  worshipped  as  a  god,  the  Commander  of 
the  Faithful  unswervingly  directed  all  worship  to  be 
made  to  an  incorporeal  deity.  Mr.  Freeman  perceives 
another  difference.  The  Roman  emperor,  he  says,  was 
pontiff  because  he  was  emperor,  whilst  "  the  Prophet,  from 
a  spiritual  teacher,  gradually  became  a  temporal  lord,  con- 
sequently his  successor  is  only  emperor  because  he  is 
pontiff."^  I  confess  myself  unable  to  follow  this  author, 
either  as  to  the  fact  or  its  significance.  The  first  Augustus 
was  emperor  for  several  years  before  the  death  of  Lepidus 
enabled  him  to  reunite  the  two  offices  in  one  person. 
After    that    time    the    Augustus    or     Basileus    was    the 

'  Freeman's  "  History  of  the  Saracens,"  p.  62. 


emperor,  and  the  emperor  was  tlie  Augustus.  Those  who 
were  proclaimed  by  the  army  were  necessarily  emperors 
before  they  could  be  invested  as  chief-pontiff.  On  the 
other  hand,  those  who  became  sovereign-pontiffs  by  adop- 
tion or  descent  were  both  emperors  and  chief-pontiffs  at  i 
the  same  time.  With  respect  to  the  moslem,  Mr.  Free- 
man's inaccuracy  is  still  more  glaring.  Mahomet  was  never 
a  temporal  lord  ;  whilst  several  temporal  lords,  or  emirs, 
ruled  the  empire  which  he  did  so  much  to  erect,  before 
Abd-el-Melik  proclaimed  himself  an  independent  sove- 
reign, and,  uniting  the  pontificate  to  the  throne,  took  the 
title  of  caliph  and  Emir-el- Moumenin,  or  Commander  of  the 
Faithful.  Spain  emancipated  herself  from  the  temporal 
but  not  from  the  spiritual  control  of  the  Arabian  caliphs  so 
early  as  a.d.  756  ;  Egypt  followed  suit  in  a.d.  868.  Abd- 
el-Raman  I,  was  therefore  an  independent  sovereign  before 
he  became  a  pontiff ;  indeed,  he  never  became  one.  Says 
Lavoix  :  "  The  Ommiades  of  Spain  always  respected  the 
supremacy  of  the  caliph. '^  This  was  true  down  to  the 
reign  of  Abd-el-Raman  III,  but  not  afterwards.  The 
previous  caliphs  of  Spain  never  styled  themselves  Emir- 
el-Moumenin,  but  he  did.  He  was  not  only  Commander 
of  the  Faithful ,  he  was  also  En-Nasr-li-din- Allah,  or 
"  Servant  of  the  Religion  of  God.'' 

As  usual,  the  coinage  decides  the  point.  The  Arabian 
emirs  or  caliphs,  call  them  what  you  will,  struck  no  inde- 
pendent coins  before  Abd-el-Melik.  Their  coins  bear  the 
stamp  of  Roman  suzerainty  ;  the  emblems  of  the  Roman 
religion  ;  the  legends  of  Roman  superstition.  These  are 
proofs  that  until  Abd-el-Melik  the  Arabian  caliphs  were 
not  independent  sovereigns.  But  the  coinage  proves 
.more  than  this  :  it  proves  that  the  temporal  sovereignty 
of  the  caliphs  did  not  arise  from  their  spiritual  authority. 
This  existed  from  the  time  of  Mahomet,  while  the 
temporal  sovereignty  only  began  with  Abd-el-Melik. 
Another  proof  of  the  correctness  of  this  view  is  derived 
from  the  coinage  of  gold,  which,  with  the  Arabs  as  with 


the  Persians  and  Romans,  was  a  sacerdotal  preroga- 
tive. This  prerogative  belonged  to  the  caliph  as  the 
sovereign-pontiff  of  Islam.  The  early  emirs  struck  no 
gold,  not  even  with  Roman  devices,  and  when  Abd-el- 
Melik  struck  gold,  the  sovereign-pontiff  of  Rome,  who  was 
'aware  of  its  significance,  immediately  declared  war  upon 
him.  It  was  the  same  in  Spain.  The  Spanish  caliphs 
struck  no  gold  before  Abd-el-Raman  III.  Until  then  the 
gold  coins  used  in  Spain  were  struck  by  the  Arabian 
caliphs  as  Commanders  of  the  Faithful.  In  Egypt  it  was 
'the  same.  When  the  first  Fatimite  King  struck  gold  in 
'that  province  he  meant  it  to  be  understood,  and  the  caliphs 
so  construed  it,  that  he  regarded  himself  as  independent  of 
the  caliphate,  and  was  prepared  to  take  the  consequences 
of  that  declaration. 

The  spiritual  and  temporal  attributes  of  the  caliph,  and 
the  important  bearing  which  this  dual  character  had  upon 
the  development  of  the  moslem  empire,  is  best  shown 
by  the  historian  Dozy.  The  empire  rose  by  the  strength 
which  it  derived  from  this  union  of  the  spiritual  and  tem- 
poral powers  j  it  fell  by  the  weakness  which  invariably 
follows  such  an  union.  The  strength  was  born  of  reli- 
gious enthusiasm  ;  the  weakness  resulted  from  the  im- 
practical features  of  hierarchical  government. 

The  demands  of  space  forbid  us  to  follow  this  subject 
any  further.  Our  object  is  not  to  trace  the  history  of 
Islam,  but  of  its  monetary  systems  in  Europe.  We  can, 
therefore,  only  glance  at  the  events  connected  with  the 
establishment  of  moslem  government. 

It  is  a  common  mistake  to  confound  the  rise  of  Sara- 
cenic power  with  the  advent  of  Mahomet.  Three  centuries 
before  his  time  the  frontier  tribes  of  Arabia  had  ventured 
to  resist  the  authority  of  Rome,  and  under  their  goddess 
or  queen  Mania^  their  strength  had  been  sufficient  to  defy 
and    overthrow   an  imperial    army.       Their    religion  had 

*  Eufinus  calls  the  Arabian  queen  Mania ;  Socrates  and  Sozomen  call 
her  Mavia.     The  name  is  probably  the  same  as  Maia,  Maria,  etc. 


also    taken  form.       Sozomen,    describing    the   Arabs    of  • 
the   fourth   centuiy,    says  :   "  They  practice   circumcision,  ' 
refrain   from   the  use   of   pork^   and  observe   many  other 
Jewish  rites  and  customs.'^      It  may  be  added   that  they 
observed    many  religious    rites   and   customs   which    were 
afterwards  adopted  by  the  Eoman  church.^ 

However,  the  establishment  of  Islam  is  cei'tainly  due 
to  Mahomet  and  his  successors^  and  to  their  conquests 
of  Persia,  Syria,  Egypt,  Africa,  and  Spain.  It  is  through 
this  last-named  country  that  France,  England,  Germany, 
and  America  are  interested  in  the  progress  of  the 
Arabian  monetary  systems. 

At  the  time  of  Mahomet  and  the  emirs  the  Arabs 
numbered  about  120,000  fighting  men.  These  consti- 
tuted that  army  of  invasion  which  accomplished  its  work 
with  so  much  courage  and  energy.  After  repelling  the 
forces  which  had  confined  them  to  the  desert,  they  burst 
out  upon  Rome  and  Persia,  at  that  time  the  two  most 
powerful  States  of  the  Western  world.  In  less  than  ten 
years  they  subdued  Irak,  Mesopotamia,  Syria,  and  Egypt, 
and  turned  these  countries  into  "  the  dwelling  of  the  Arab 
race,  the  kernel  of  the  empire,  the  garden  where  Religion 
and  Victory  were  born  together.'"  ^  The  attack  was  so 
rapid  that  the  conquest  proceeded  almost  without  adminis- 
trative organisation.  Locally  this  was  left  entirely  in 
the  hands  of  the  conquered  races.  In  Persia  the  con- 
querors, who  were  rough  soldiers  and  awkward  in  clerkly 
duties,  employed  Jewish  or  Persian  writers  and  account- 
ants. The  native  language  was  retained.  In  Syria  the 
pi'incipal  servants  of  the  Arabian  government  down  to 
the  reign  of  Abd-el-Melik  were  "Arian^'  Greeks.  For 
example,  one  Sergius,  a  Greek,  was  superintendent  of 
finances,  or  collector  of  taxes.  But  in  the  reign  of  Abd- 
el-Melik  all  was  changed.  The  civil  government  of  Irak 
was  taken  from  the  Persian  writers  and  given  to  Arabians. 

1  Stanley's  "  Sabean  Philosophy,"  p.  800. 
-  Ibn  Kaldoun. 


The  Domesday  Book  of  Syria  was  ti'auslated  into  Ai'abic  ; 
the  registry  of  the  treasury,  the  tax  lists,  and  the  text 
of  the  laws  all  became  Arabic. 

It  was  the  same  with  the  coinage.  During  nearly 
sixty  years  following  the  conquest,  this  privilege  and  func- 
tion was  exercised  by  local  emirs,  who  employed  Persian, 
Greek,  or  Hebrew  moneyers.  The  sizes,  types,  and  in- 
scriptions of  the  coins,  their  weight,  fineness,  value,  legal 
function,  and  other  characteristics  were  copied  with  pre- 
cision from  the  current  coins  and  monetary  systems  of  the 
subdued  nations.''  Under  Abd-el-Melik  this  was  all  re- 
formed. The  coins  became  wholly  Arabian,  and  among 
the  characteristics  which  they  acquired  was  one  which 
was  carried  westward,  and  continued  to  influence  the 
coinages  of  Europe  until  after  the  discovery  of  America. 
This  was  the  peculiarly  Arabian  valuation  of  silver  to  gold 
of  6^  for  1.  But  before  explaining  this  subject,  let  us 
first  briefly  follow  the  Arabian  conquests  through  Africa 
to  Spain. 

An  interesting  relic  of  antiquity,  communicated  to  the 
world  iu  recent  years,  assures  us  that  the  Arabian  policy 
in  Egypt  was  the  same  as  in  Persia  and  Syria — the  local 
administration  was  at  first  left  entirely  in  the  hands  of 
the  conquered  nation." 

John  of  Xikios,  after  describing  the  anarchical  con- 
dition of  the  religious  community  in  Egypt,  the  dissen- 
sions which   distracted  it,  the  persecutions  instituted  by 

^  From  Abd-el-Melik  the  Arabs  seldom  omitted  an  opportunity  to  pro- 
claim iipon  the  coins  the  unity  of  God.  The  ordinary  motto  was,  "  There 
is  no  God  but  the  one  God."  Upon  the  bilingual  coins  it  varied ;  for 
example  :  "  In  Xomine  Domini  Misericordis.  Unus  Deus."  ..."  Non 
est  Deus  nisi  Solus  Deus  cui  non  socius  Alius."  .  .  .  '"  Xon  est  Deus  nisi, 
Unus  cui  non  Deus  alius  similis."  The  coinages  of  the  emirs  began  as 
early  as  a.d.  638  ;  of  Ali,  660;  Abd-el-Melik,  685. 

-  "  Chronique  de  Jean,  eveque  de  Nikiou  "  (Xikos),  texte  Ethiopien, 
public  et  traduit  par  H.  Zoteuberg,  Paris,  1883.  This  bishop  lived  in 
Egypt  during  the  latter  half  of  the  seventh  century,  that  is  to  say,  at 
the  time  of  the  Arabian  invasion. 


the  sacred  emperor  Heraclius,  and  the  joy  with  which  the 
inhabitants  forsook  the  Roman  for  the  moslem  yoke, 
notices  the  wisdom  of  the  Arabian  policy  in  retaining 
native  administrative  ofl&cers.  Says  John  :  "  After  the 
moslem  conquest  a  man  named  Menas,  whom  the  Em- 
peror (of  Byzantium)  made  pr^efect  of  Lower  Egypt,  and 
who  despised  the  Egyptians,  was,  nevertheless,  i-etained  at 
his  post.  The  moslem  also  chose  another  Greek,  named 
Sinoda,  as  praefect  of  the  province  of  Eif,  and  another, 
named  Philoxenos,  as  praefect  of  Arcadia  or  Fayoum.'^ 
Even  when  Menas  was  removed  from  the  government  of 
Alexandria,  the  moslem  replaced  him  by  John  of  Damietta, 
a  Greek,  who  had  also  been  a  prefect  under  the  Emperor, 
and  who,  moreover,  had  successfully  exei'ted  himself  to  save 
the  city  from  injury  by  its  Arabian  conquerors.  This  was 
his  recommendation  to  them. 

The  conquest  of  Africa  was  very  different  from  that  of 
Persia,  Syria,  and  Egypt.  In  these  countries  the  worship 
of  Ceesar  had  deeply  disgusted  the  inhabitants  with 
Eoman  rule,  and  even  where  "  Christianity '^^  had  sup- 
planted emperor-worship,  the  people  never  became  wholly 
reconciled  to  the  religion  of  their  conquerors.  The  Ber- 
bers of  Africa,  being  more  remote  from  Byzantium,  were 
less  troubled  by  religious  disputes.  Neither  the  worship 
of  Augustus,  nor  Bacchus,  nor  of  the  reigning  emperor, 
gave  them  much  concern.  They  were  strangers  to  both  the 
Latin  and  Greek  tongues,  and  came  but  little  into  contact 
with  the  officials,  either  secular  or  sacred,  who  had  been 
appointed  over  them.  Hence  they  were  not  divided  by 
schism,  and  were  far  from  being  disposed  to  welcome  the 
new  race  of  religious  enthusiasts  and  conquerors.  The 
conquest  of  the  other  provinces  of  Rome  had  been  effected 
by  the  moslem  in  campaigns,  which,  ending  w^ith  the  battle 
of  Nevahend  (a.d.  641), had  lasted  less  than  ten  years.    The 

'  It  is  hardly  necessary  to  remind  the  intelligent  reader  that  the  so- 
called  "  Christianity  "  of  the  seventh  century  hore  but  slight  resemblance 
to  the  Christianity  of  the  present  day. 


conquest  of  tlie  African  provinces  of  that  empire  cost  tliem 
half  a  century  of  fighting.  The  country  which  lay  before 
them  comprised  Tripoli  to  the  Tingitane,  Central  Maghred^ 
and  Western  Maghred.  Two  races  occupied  it ;  the  sea- 
ports were  in  the  hands  of  the  By7iantines,  who  also 
possessed,  in  the  interior,  military  posts  defended  by 
strong  garrisons.  The  Byzantine  legate  reigned  at  Car- 
thage ;  Gregory,  the  patrician,  governed  at  Sufetula  ; 
the  rest  of  the  country  was  filled  by  the  warlike  Berbers, 
chiefly  in  Auras,  Zab,  and  Hodna,  where  they  had  esta- 
blished themselves  during  the  contests  between  the  Romans 
and  Vandals. 

After  a  series  of  preliminary  raids  and  skirmishes, 
during  which  the  moslem  established  bases  of  supplies  at 
Zaoueilah  and  Barkah,  they  prepared  for  a  more  extended 
campaign  in  a.h.  49.  This  was  under  the  chief  com- 
mand of  Akbar-ben-Nafi,  who,  in  a.h.  50,  founded  the  city 
of  Kairoun.  At  the  end  of  twelve  years'  hard  fighting 
Akbar  had  penetrated  westward  so  far  as  Ceuta,  then 
commanded  by  Count  Julian.  From  the  flanks  of  this 
fortress  Akbar  first  beheld  the  limitless  ocean  of  the 
West  and  the  towering  Rock  of  Hercules,  Calpe  (or 
Gibraltar),  beyond  which  hiy  the  famed  land  of  gold  and 
silver.  Leaving  Ceuta  on  his  right,  Akbar  marched 
straight  on  to  Tangier.  Here,  while  separated  from  his 
army,  and  defended  by  only  300  cavaliers,  he  was  am- 
bushed and  massacred  by  the  enemy. 

Zohair-ben-Kais,  and  after  him  Hasan,  having  suc- 
ceeded to  the  command  of  the  moslem  forces,  other 
campaigns  followed,  in  which  Carthage  was  won,  then 
lost,  and  then  won  again.  With  its  second  winning  the 
Roman  garrisons  in  Africa  were  virtually  subdued.  The 
natives,  however,  were  far  from  being  conquered.  Under 
their  queen,  Kahinah,  they  held  the  Arabians  in  check, 
and  eventually  defeated  them.  Africa  seemed  uncon- 
querable. After  this  defeat — the  most  terrible  that  the 
moslem  had  ever  sustained — Hasan  received  orders  from 


the  indomitable  caliph  to  renew  the  war.  This  time 
Kahinah  was  defeated,  and  Kairoun  retaken.  The  moslem 
armies  again  took  up  the  march  for  Ceuta.  Hasan  was 
now  replaced  by  Mousa-beu-Nosier,  under  whose  vigorous 
command  Ceuta  was  secured,  and  (a.d.  704)  the  arms  of 
Arabia  were  carried  to  the  Western  Ocean. 

Five  years  later  Abou-Zoriah-Tharik-ben-Zaid  (better 
known  to  us  as  Tarik),  under  the  orders  of  Mousa,  passed 
the  Straits  of  Hercules  with  one  hundred  horse  and  four 
hundred  foot  soldiers,  debarked  at  the  Rock,  captured 
and  sacked  the  town,  as  well  as  the  neighbouring  cities 
of  Carteia  and  Algeciras,  and  then  returned  to  Africa  rich 
with  spoils.  Next  year  Tarik  landed  with  a  larger  force, 
better  equipped,  and  boldly  advanced  to  meet  the  Gothic 
army  of  King  Roderic.  Except  when  the  Saracenic 
vassals  of  the  empire,  whom  Valens  in  378  had  called  to 
the  defence  of  Constantinople,  and  whose  savage  valor 
had  avenged  his  death  by  bloodily  repulsing  the  Goths 
from  the  suburbs  of  the  capital,  this  was  the  first  occasion 
when  the  moslem  and  the  Gothic  arms  came  into  conflict, 
and  here,  again,  victory  was  with  the  Arabs.  The  im- 
mediate consequence  of  the  action  was  to  open  the  road 
to  Toledo,  and  in  an  incredibly  short  space  of  time  nearly 
the  whole  of  Spain  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  invaders. 
The  fame  of  this  extraordinary  exploit  aroused  the  jealousy 
of  Mousa,  who,  crossing  from  Africa,  hastened  to  com- 
plete the  conquest  of  Spain,  and  share  the  vast  spoils  of 
Tarik.  By  a.h.  94  (a.d.  712)  the  conquest  was  com- 
pleted, and  Mousa,  like  Cortes  at  a  later  period,  found 
himself  master  of  an  empire  greater  and  richer  than  that 
of  the  caliph  his  master. 

In  every  country  that  fell  beneath  their  sway  the  policy 
of  the  moslem  was  the  same  :  they  imposed  a  tribute 
(usually  of  about  one  dinar  per  capita  per  annum)  upon 
the  inhabitants,  but  only  so  long  as  they  remained  kafirs 
or  infidels.  The  moment  they  accepted  the  moslem 
formula — "  There  is  but  one  God  " — the  tribute  was  taken 


off,  and  they  became  Mahometans  and  freemen.  The 
civil  administration,  of  Spain  was  entrusted  to  native 
(Gothic)  clerks  and  leaders.  The  coinage,  which  began 
in  each  couuti*y  from  the  moment  that  victory  was  assured, 
were  always  an  exact  imitation  of  the  previous  local 
coinage.  No  change  at  all  is  perceptible  at  first.  For 
example,  Mousa  commenced  to  strike  coins  from  the 
moment  that  the  conquest  of  Spain  was  effected,  and  one 
of  these  pieces  is  still  extant. 

In  A.H.  37  (a.d.  658),  during  the  civil  contest  between 
Ali  and  Moawiyah,  the  latter  "  bought  peace  of  the 
Emperor  Constans  by  a  round  sum  of  ready  money  and 
the  payment  of  a  daily  tribute.'^  In  a.h.  59  (a.d.  679), 
after  his  repulse  from  the  walls  of  Constantinople, 
Moawiyah  was  fain  to  purchase  peace  from  Constantine 
Pogonatus  by  an  annual  tribute  of  3,000  libras  of  gold, 
fifty  slaves,  and  fifty  Arab  horses.^  In  a.h.  67  (a.d.  686) 
Abd-el-Melik,  being  at  that  period  involved  in  civil  war 
with  the  Mardaites,  bought  peace  of  Justinian  II,  (after- 
wards called  Rhiuotmetus)  by  the  payment  of  a  tribute  of 
1,000  gold  solidi  or  dinars  per  annum  for  ten  years. 
Down  to  this  time  these  coins  were  struck  by  Abd-el 
Melik,  with  Eoman  emblems  and  legends  upon  them. 
Six  years  later  the  Arabian  caliph,  having  disposed  of 
the  Mardaite  trouble,  determined  to  assert  his  inde- 
pendence of  Rome,  and  by  a  token  understood  of  all  the 
"World.  He  struck  gold  coins  with  his  own  effigy,  holding 
a  drawn  sword,  as  afterwards  did  Edward  III,  when  la.3 
renounced  the  same  dread  authority.  Abd-el-^Ielik's 
dinars  bore  this  challenging  legend  :  "  The  Servant  of 
'God,  Abd-el-Melik,  Emir-el-Moumenin."  These  coins 
-Justinian  refused  to  receive,  because,  says  Zonaras,  "  It  is 
not  permitted  to  stamp  gold  coins  with  any  other  e&.gy 
but  that  of  the  emperor  of   Rome.''"'      Whereupon  a  war 

^  Freeman  (pp.  90,  91)  says  •'  pieces  "  of  gold,  or  dinars. 
-  Consult  Theophanus  (pp.   751-818)  ;  Cedrenus  (eleventh   century) 
and  Zonaras  (t^velfth  century)  on  this  subject. 


was  declared  br  Justinian,  Tvliicli  lasted  until  the  latter 
was  driven  from  liis  throne  by  a  civil  revolt,  which 
occurred  in  a.d,  695.  Justinian  was  banished  by  his 
successor  to  the  Crimea,  where  he  married  the  daughter 
of  a  Mongol  chieftain.  He  afterwards  escaped  to  Bulgaria, 
where  he  married  the  daughter  of  a  Gothic  chieftain. 
Then,  in  a.d.  705^  he  appeared  before  Constantinople  with 
an  army  of  barbarians,  and  re-entered  it  in  triumph. 
Among  his  first  acts  was  the  striking  of  a  gold  solidus, 
with  which  he  hurled  back  the  religious  challenge  of  the 
Arab.  Upon  this  solidus  appears  the  legend  :  "  Our 
Lord  Justinian,  the  Servant  of  Christ." 

The  monetary  system  of  Abd-el-Melik  consisted  of 
coins  of  purely  Arabian  type  and  legend.  The  ratio 
between  silver  and  gold  was  that  oriental  valuation  of 
6^  for  1,  which  marked  for  several  centuries  the  line  of 
separation  between  the  moslem  and  Christian  States  of 
Europe.  The  Arabian  ratio  was  fixed  by  striking  dinai-s, 
each  of  approximately  65  grains,  and  silver  dirhems  of 
approximately  43  grains,  and  valuing  ten  of  the  latter,  in 
the  law,  at  one  of  the  former.  Unless  the  purely  econo- 
mical considerations,  which  will  presently  be  adduced,  are 
deemed  sufficient,  it  is  difficult  to  discern  the  reasons  for 
establishing  this  peculiar  ratio ;  yet  practical  politicians 
will  assure  us  that  economical  considerations  have  never 
been  the  principal  influence  which  determined  the  policy 
of  nations."^ 

The  ratio  of  6|  may  have  been  a  reaction  from  the 
coinages  effected  under  the  ratio  of  13,  mentioned  by 
Herodotus  concerning  the  ancient  Persian  tributes  ; '   or  it 

1  "The  events  of  the  last  few  years  on  both  sides  of  the  Atlantic  have 
proved  that  men  are  not  now,  any  more  than  they  ever  were,  chiefly 
governed  by  calculations  of  material  profit  and  loss "  (Bryce,  "  Holy 
Roman  Empire,"  p.  301). 

-  Thalia,  p.  95.  Some  warrant  for  this  hypothesis  is  afforded  by  the 
Brazilian  milreis,  which,  though  derived  from  that  of  Portugal,  contains- 
only  half  the  same  quantity  of  fine  metal  ("  Hist.  Money  and  Civiliza-- 
tion,"  chap.  xii). 

(  V, 

MOSLEM    MONEYS.X?^,  ,f°^.^^,i  ^>'17o 

may  have  been  due  to  the  fact  that  iu  all  the  western 
countries  conquered  by  the  moslem,  silver  was  chiefly  in 
the  hands  of  the  people,  whilst  gold  was  in  those  of  their 
rulers  ;  and  the  great  alteration  which  was  made  in  their 
relative  value  was  a  covert  bribe  to  gain  the  suffrages  of 
the  former  and  reconcile  them  to  moslem  government  and 
religion.  But  it  is  far  more  likely  to  have  originated  in  a 
simpler  and  sti'aightforward  manner.  The  Athenian, 
Persian,  Egyptian,  and  Roman  governments  had  succes- 
sively absorbed  a  lai-ge  portion  of  the  profits  derived  from 
the  Indian  trade,  by  lowering  the  value  of  silver  (in  which 
their  tributes  were  chiefly  received)  in  the  Occident  to 
lialf  its  value  in  the  Orient.  By  making  the  bullion  trade 
a  strictly  governmental  monopoly,  as  Cicero  informs  us  was 
the  case  with  Rome,  that  hierarchy  obtained  twice  as  much 
gold  for  silver  in  India  as  it  paid  for  it  iu  Europe.  This 
policy,  except  where  it  was  swept  away  by  the  influence  of 
Islam,  Avas  pursued  until  the  Roman  empire  expired.  The 
Arabian  government  was  more  considerate  of  its  merchants: 
it  threw  open  the  oriental  trade  to  all  true  believers  ;  it 
imposed  no  restrictions ;  it  was  averse,  at  least  at  that 
period,  to  the  imposition  of  covert  exactions.  During  the 
seventh  century  of  our  era  the  ratio  in  India  was  about 
6^  for  1,  and  this  high  valuation  of  silver  in  India  con- 
tinued substantially  unchanged  until  the  fifteenth  century. 
It  was  at  the  Indian  ratio  that  the  moslem  struck  their 
coins  of  gold  and  silver. 

Whatever  the  true  reason  of  this  policy,  it  was  certainly 
more  profitable  for  the  moslem  conquerors  than  had  they 
adopted  the  contemporaneous  Roman  ratio  of  12  for  1.  A 
brief  computation  will  serve  to  measure  this  profit.  After 
consulting  those  Arabian  authors  who  have  treated  the 
subject,  and  making  allowances  for  instances  where 
exaggeration  seems  to  have  been  employed,  we  have 
ventured  to  roughly  estimate  the  moslem  spoil  of  the 
precious  metals,  including  the  tributes  exacted  fi'om  the 
conquered   nations   during   the  first  eighty  years  of  the 


conquestj  at  about  five  miilion  marks'  weiglit  of  gold  and 
about  one  hundred  million  marks'  weight  of  silver. 

In  determining  at  what  i  elation  of  value  of  one  to  the 
other  metal  this  mass  of  gold  and  silver  should  be  coined, 
Abd-el-Melik  may  be  reasonably  supposed  to  have  indulo-ed 
in  some  such  considerations  as  the  following  ; 

"  We  have  a  vast  treasure  before  us  to  coin.  At  what 
ratio  of  value  between  silver  and  gold  shall  we  coin  it  ? 
Our  armies  are  invincible:  the  populations  are  tired  of 
Eoman  rule  ;  our  conquests  will  extend.  Arabia  is  a  com- 
mercial country,  watered  by  three  oceans — the  Mediter- 
ranean connects  it  with  the  "West,  the  Euxine  with  the 
North,  and  the  Eed  Sea  with  India  and  China,  The 
influx  of  the  precious  metals,  due  at  first  to  our  arms,  will 
be  continued  by  means  of  trade.  In  the  Roman  empire 
and  its  feudatories  the  coinages  have  hitherto  been  con- 
ducted on  the  basis  of  12  weights  of  silver  for  1  of  gold  ; 
in  the  Orient  the  ratio  is  6  or  7  for  1.  It  is  evident  that 
the  most  profitable,  perhaps  also  the  most  important,  part 
of  our  commerce  will  be  with  what  we  soon  hope  to  call 
our  Indian  empire;  and  it  is  more  desirable  that  our 
moneys  ehould  harmonise  with  the  Indian  than  with  the 
Roman  coinages.  It  must  also  not  be  forgotten  that  to 
conform  with  the  Roman  coinages  would  involve  us  in 
pecuniary  loss,  whereas  to  follow  the  oriental  ratio  would 
afford  us  a  profit.  Judging  from  the  proportions  of  the 
metallic  spoil  thus  far  captured,  we  shall  secure  about 
twenty  times  as  much  (in  weight  of)  silver  as  gold, 
and  assuming  that  we  eventually  secure  100,000,000 
marks  of  silver,  and  coin  it  at  the  Indian  ratio,  our 
fund  will  amount  to  1,120,000,000  dinars;  whereas  if  we 
coin  at  the  Roman  ratio,  it  will  only  come  to  746f  millions. 
Let  those  who  are  learned  in  the  art  of  arithmetic  make 
the  calculation  for  themselves.  The  only  questions  left 
to  consider  are  these :  Can  we  permanently  maintain 
this  ratio  of  value — so  different  from  that  established  by 
the    coinages    of    the  Roman    empire,    a    large    portion 


of  which,  however,  is  already'  subject  to  our  arms  ? 
'\^'ill  not  our  gold  dinars  flow  out  and  silver  metal  come 
into  Arabia  to  take  its  place  ?  and,  if  so,  will  not  this 
prove  injurious  to  our  affairs  ?  These  questions  can  be 
answered  very  readily.  As  we  have  already  gained  con- 
ti'ol  of  the  Egyptian,  and,  please  Allah,  will  soon  have 
control  of  the  Spanish  mines,  from  what  other  country 
is  the  silver  metal  to  come  which  is  to  bu}'  our  gold 
dinars  ?  Answer — No  country.  As  we  have  driven  the 
Eomans  from  the  Mediterranean,  and  will  soon  control 
the  commerce  of  maritime  Europe,  whither  could  our 
gold  dinars  go  outside  of  the  influence  of  our  own 
ti'ade  ?  Answer — Nowhere.  If,  nevertheless,  such  an 
unlikely  thing  should  come  to  pass,  how  much  should 
we  lose  were  our  280,000,000  of  gold  dinars  to  flow  out 
and  we  received  for  them  280,000,000  dinars^  worth  of 
silver  at  our  own  ratio  of  valuation  ?  Answer — Nothing. 
Then  what  is  the  objection  to  the  adoption  of  such  a  ratio 
of  value  between  silver  and  gold  as  best  suits  our  present 
interests  and  our  probable  future  trade  with  India  ? 
Answer — None  whatever.'^^ 

Encouraged  more  than  likely  by  reflections  of  this 
character,  the  Arabians  commenced,  under  Abd-el-Melik, 
that  system  of  purely  Arabian  coinages  which  continued 
until  the  centre  of  their  empire  was  virtually  removed  to 
India,  and  they  had  lost  control  of  both  the  mines  and 
the  commerce  of  Europe. 

These  coinages  were  for  several  centuries  conducted  ou 
the  basis  of  6h  weights  of  coined  silver  as  the  equivalent 
in  value  of  1  weight  of  coined  gold.  This  was  not  only 
a  peculiar  ratio ;  it  differed  so  greatly  from  the  Roman 
one  of  12  for  1  that  it  can  never  fail  to  be  recognised 
wherever  and   whenever  it  existed — whether  in  the  couu- 

^  At  the  ratio  of  65  there  would  be  56  dinars  and  84  dirhems  struok 
from  the  mark  weight  ;  at  the  ratio  of  12  there  would  be  56  of  each  coin 
struck  from  the  mark  weight.  The  difference  in  the  total  sum  would 
amount  to  373^  millions  of  dinars. 


tries  of  Islam  or  elsewhere.  Moreover,  when  found  else- ' 
"where,  it  is  an  infallible  sign  of  moslem  connection  or 
influence.  As  in  the  remains  of  antiquity  the  presence  ' 
of  silk  and  porcelain  denotes  commerce  with  China ;  of 
spices,  with  India ;  of  tin,  with  Britain  ;  of  amber,  with 
lestia ;  and  of  papyrus,  with  Egypt,  so,  in  the  monuments 
of  the  medieval  ages,  does  the  establishment  of  this  pecu- 
liar ratio  of  value  between  silver  and  gold  in  coins  denote 
intercourse  with  the  Arabians.  Wherever  this  ratio  was 
adopted  merely  by  giving  currency  to  Arabian  coins  at 
Arabian  values,  the  intercourse  with  Arabians  xuay  have 
been  limited  to  commerce.  Where  the  ratio  was  esta- 
blished by  means  of  local  coinages,  based  on  the  moslera 
valuation  and  supplemented  by  the  use  of  moslem  types, 
the  former  implies  resistance  to  Roman  government,  and 
the  latter  implies  the  presence  of  moslem  artificers. 
Where  to  the  moslem  ratio  and  types  was  added  the 
moslem  religious  formula,  "  There  is  but  one  God,''  this 
definitively  bespeaks  the  presence  of  moslem  influence, 
and  a  formal  protest  against  polytheism.  All  these  will 
be  found  in  some  mediasval  States — the  moslem  ratio, 
type,  and  religious  formula ;  hence  their  historical 

When  it  is  borne  in  mind  that  the  moslem  empire  was 
a  sacred  one,  that  the  moslem  coinages,  like  the  Roman  or 
Byzantine,  were  employed  as  a  means  of  disseminating 
religious  doctrine,  and  that,  also  like  the  Roman,  the 
legal  ratio  of  value  between  coins  of  the  precious  metals, 
once  fixed,  remained  unchanged  for  centuries,  the  import- 
ance of  the  moslem  ratio  for  solving  other  historical 
problems  will  be  better  understood.  For  example,  how 
far  did  the  moslem  conquest  and  occupation  of  France 
extend  ?  and  how  long  did  it  last  ?  are  questions  to  which 
a  far  more  reliable  answer  will  be  found  in  the  Merovin- 
gian coinages  than  in  the  popular  stoiy  of  Martel's 
victory.^  To  what  extent,  at  a  given  era,  was  Christianity 
^  One  of  the  earliest  Arabian  dinars,  now  in  the  Paris  collection,  was 


establislied  in  Gothic  countries,  is  a  problem  to  be  solved 
'  mucli  more  satisfactorily  by  means  of  the  coinages  and 
valuations  which  prevailed  in  those  countries  than  by 
listening  to  the  airy  fictions  of  the  Quindecemviral 

We  find  moslem  remains  or  else  marks  of  moslem 
influence  in  tlie  antiquities  of  England,  Scandinavia,  the 
Netherlands,  Frakkland  (Burgundy),  Spain,  and  other 
Gothic  or  semi-Gothic  States  of  the  seventh  and  eighth 
centuries.  In  Sicily  moslem  marks  continue  to  the 
twelfth  century,  and  in  Spain  to  the  fifteenth.  When- 
ever we  find  them  we  have  not  far  to  look  for  the  frontier - 
Hue  of  Christianity.  Since  the  Julian  era,  in  whatever 
country  the  ratio  of  12  prevailed,  that  country  may  be 
safeh'  regarded  as  having  been  first  under  Roman-pagan, 
and  afterwards  under  Roman-Christian  domination ;  in 
whatever  country  west  of  India  the  ratio  of  7  or  6^  pre- 
vailed, it  may  be  regarded  as  having  been  under  moslem  in- 
fluence. But  for  the  influence  of  the  archaic  Gothic 
ratio  of  8,  explained  elsewhere,  it  might  also  be  concluded 
that  wherever  any  intermediate  ratio  between  6^  and  12 
prevailed,  that  place  was  at  or  near  the  frontier-line 
between  the  spheres  of  Roman  and  moslem  influence. 

To  those  to  whom  the  ratio  of  value  between  the  pre- 
cious metals  appears  due  to  any  other  circumstance  than 
the  arbitrary  laws  of  national  mints,  or  to  those  whose 
attention  to  the  history  of  this  recondite  subject  has  now 
been  drawn  for  the  first  time,  the  ratio  may  seem  a 
strange  or  inadequate  criterion  of  political  or  religious 
domination ;  but  it  is  precisely  in  such  obscure  relations 
between  great  and  little  things  that  an  all-wise  Creator 
has  sheltered  the  truth  of  history  from  man^s  destructive 
powers.  The  forgeiy  of  books,  the  defacement  of  monu- 
ments, the  perversion  of  evidences,  the  extermination 
of  nonconformists,  the  invention  of   fabulous  cosmogonies 

found   at    Autun,   with   two   Merovingian   coins   (Lavoix's   Catalogue, 
No.  26). 



and  superstitious  fictions — all  are  made  in  vain  to  conceal 
or  crush  the  truth  so  long  as  a  blade  of  grass  or  a  breath 
of  air  remains  on  earth  to  reveal  it ;  for  all  Nature  is 
united  in  a  mysterious  harmony,  and  to  even  approxi- 
mately master  one  branch  of  science  is  to  gain  a  key 
which,  with  patience  and  industry,  may  eventually  unlock 
for  us  all  the  others. 

The  moslem  systems  of  money  were  based  on  the  dinar 
coin,  whose  weight  was  called  a  mithcal,  this  word  mean- 
ing literally  "  any  weight  with  which  one  weighs  ;  "  in 
other  words,  the  mithcal  of  money  was  the  weight  of  the 
dinar,  which  was  theoretically  a  symbol,  a  money  of 
account,  forming  part  of  a  monetary  system,  but  palpably 
a  single  coin,  containing  65  grains  fine  gold,  this 
having  been  the  average  contents  of  the  Homan  solidus  at 
the  period  of  the  first  Arabian  coinage.^  In  the  earliest 
moslem  system  (period  of  Mahomet)  the  mithcal  was 
divided  into  96  parts,  as  follows  :  96  barleycorns  =  48 
habbeh  =  24  tussuj=6  danik  =  l  mithcal.  The  ratio  of 
silver  to  gold  in  this  system  was  12  for  1.  Hence  the 
silver  drachma,  of  which  12  went  to  the  gold  dinar,  con- 
tained 65  grains  fine  silver.'  In  the  system  established 
by  Abd-el-Melik,  about  three-fourths  of  a  century  after 
the  Hegira,  the  mithcal  was  divided  into  100  parts,  as 
follows:  100  barleycorns  =  20  karats  =  1  mithcal.  Hence 
a  barleycorn  of  this  system  weighed  0*65,  or  about  two- 
thirds  of  a  grain,  and  a  karat  S^  grains.  Both  the  Roman 
binary  weights  and  the  Eoman  ratio  of  silver  to  gold 
were  now  dropped.  The  weights  became  decimal.  The 
gold  dinar  remained  unchanged,  but  the  principal  silver 
coin  was  modelled  upon  the  average  Sassanian  dii-hem  of 
14  karats,  or  seven-tenths  (in  weight)  of  the  dinar,  and 
it  took  the  name  of  its  Sassanian  prototype.      Hence  the 

^  The  extant  solidus  of  Heraclius  I,  weighs  69'9  grains,  about  65  grains 

2  Esh  Shaf  J  and  Ibn  Hanbal  both  affirm  that  the  ratio  was  12  in  the 
time  of  the  Prophet. 


dirliem  theoretically  contained  seven- tenths  of  65  grains  = 
45^  gi-ains.  The  dinar  was  valued  at  10  dirhems — a  valua- 
tion derived  from  the  ordinances  of  the  Prophet,  and  one 
which  it  would  have  been  sacrilegious  to  alter.  The  law 
of  the  Prophet  levies  a  tithe  on  all  possessions  of  the  pre- 
cious metals,  amounting  to  5  oukias,  or  200  silver  dirhems, 
or  20  gold  dinars. 1  Here  the  dinar  is  valued  at  10 
silver  dirhems,  and  it  I'emained  so  until  the  tenth  century. 
This  ratio  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  value  of  billon, 
potin,  copper,  or  glass  dirhems,  of  which  we  have  had  to 
speak  elsewhere  ;  it  related  only  to  gold  and  silver  coins 
of  fine,  or  substantially  fine,  metal. 

Had  both  the  gold  and  silver  coins  of  the  Mahometan 
mints  contained  the  full  theoretical  weight  of  metal, 
and  had  they  been  of  like  standard,  alloy,  or  fineness,  the 
weights  given  above  would  have  made  a  ratio  of  7  silver  = 
1  gold  ;  but  the  actual  circumstances  were  different. 
The  dinars  weighed  65  grains  (0*979)  fine;  the  dirhems 
weighed  43  grains  (0*960  to  0*970)  fine.  Hence  the  ratio  of 
value  between  silver  and  gold  in  the  coins  was  6*52  for  1. 

There  has  been  a  good  deal  of  confusion  and  mis- 
understanding on  this  subject,  and  it  is  essential  to  clear 
it  up  in  this  place.  El-Hassan,  an  Arabian  writer 
(a.h.  22-110),  calculated  the  theoretical  ratio  of  value 
between  the  precious  metals  in  the  coinage  at  3^  for  1, 
which  is  just  half  of  the  true  theoretical  ratio.  Bergmann, 
a  recent  winter,  doubled  the  theoretical  ratio,  and  made  it 
14  for  1.  Queipo  doubled  the  actual  ratio,  and  made  it 
13  for  1.  These  errors  probably  arose  from  mistaking 
■  the  number  of  dirhems  to  the  dinar.  El-Hassan  may 
:  have  assumed  5  to  be  the  correct  number ;  Queipo  and 
Bergmann  certainly  assumed  the  number  to  be  20.  The 
correct  legal  number  was  10.^  M.  Sylvestre  de  Sacy 
supposed  that,  because  there  were  10  dirhems  to  the 
dinar,  the  ratio  was   10   for  1.^      This  would    be   true   if 

^  The  Koran,  as  revised  by  Othman  or  Ali.  '  Sauvaire,  pp.  49 — 55. 

^  "  Money  and  Civilization,"  p.  22.  *  Sauvaire,  p.  55. 


the  weights  and  fineness  of  the  two  coins  were  alike,  but 
not  true  as  the  case  stood. 

The  average  gross  weight  of  2,222  whole  dinars  now 
extant,  and  dating  from  a.h.  76  to  132,  is  65'3  grains  ; 
that  of  6,982  whole  dirhems  of  the  same  period  is  43"36 
grains,  all  of  them  being  coins  in  the  best  state  of  con- 
servation.^ The  legal  valuation  of  10  dirhems  to  the 
dinar  will  be  found  repeatedly  confirmed  in  the  works  of 
Makrisi,  de  Sacy,  Queipo,  Lavoix,  Sauvaire,  and  Poole.  The 
standard,  or  fineness,  of  the  coins  is  given  by  Sauvaire. 
The  conclusion  that  the  ratio  was  (approximately)  6^  for  1 
therefore  stands  upon  very  solid  grounds. 

Coinage  system  of  Abd-el-Melih,  a.h.  73  (a.d.  692).      Batio  of  silver  to 
gold  6-52  for  1. 

6  copper  fels  =  1  silver  dirhem,  41'495  grains  fine. 
10  dirhems       =  1  gold  dinar,  63'63o  grains  fine. 

4  dinars  =  1  oukia. 

5  oukias  =  1  nisab. 

Hence  240  fels  =  1  oukia. 

Ed.  Bernard  ("  Mens,  et  Pond.,"  p.  188)  gives  also  the 
■equivalent  of  700  mithcals,  or  dinars,  equal  1  talent ;  but 
whether  this  applies  to  Abd-el-Melik^s  time  or  not  is 
oincertain.  The  talent  appears  to  have  had  only  a  local 
meaning,  which  varied  from  five  dinars  to  almost  any 
number.  The  original  word  for  it  in  the  Koran  is 
■^^  quintar."  "  There  are  some  who  if  thou  entrust  them 
with  a  talent  (quintar)  give  it  back  to  you  ;  and  some  if 
thou  entrust  them  with  a  dinar  will  not  return  it " 
(Imran's  Family,  iii  ;   Medina,  v.  60) . 

Eeverting  to  the  subject  of  the  ratio,  because  of  its 
great  importance,  both  from  the  numismatic,  the  monetary, 
and  the  historical  point  of  view,  Sauvaire,  in  his  "  Mate- 
riaux,''  gives  57  eccentric  valuations  of  the  dirhem  to  the 
dinar,  Avhich  are  repeated  by  Poole  in  the  "  London 
Numismatic  Chronicle '^  for  the  year  1884.  Of  this 
number  thirty-one  (or  more)   belong  to  Egypt,  and  only 

1  Sauvaire. 


one  to  Spain.  These  commence  in  a.h.  363-5,  and  vary 
I  from  50  in  the  fourth  centui-y  of  the  Hegira  to  13^  in  the 
sixth  century.  They  relate  not  to  silver,  but  to  billon 
dirhems,  some  of  which — for  example,  the  nukrah — con- 
tained but  10  per  cent,  of  silver,  the  rest  being  copper. 
In  another  instance  (a.h.  815)  the  relation  is  between  the 
dinar  and  the  so-called  "  pure  dirhem,  each  weighing  a 
half-dirhem."  It  is  evident  that  no  correct  ratio  of 
weight  and  value  between  the  dinar  and  dirhem  can  be 
deduced  from  coins  of  this  character.  The  other  exam- 
ples are  equally  useless.  From  the  era  of  Mahomet  to 
the  fourth  century  of  the  Hegira  there  are  no  examples  at 
all  except  one  for  a.h.  225,  which  is  probably  a  corrupted 
Fatimite  date.  In  this  example  there  are  15  dirhems  to 
the  dinar.  Some  examples  relate  to  copper  coins,  as  the 
Delhi  tanhah  dirhems  of  a.h.  823  (800  dirhems  to  the 
dinar)  ;  nearly  all  of  them  bear  the  impress  of  miscalcula- 
tion, and  none  of  them  state  the  fineness  of  the  coins. 
With  the  exception  of  the  12  for  1  in  the  time  of  the 
Prophet  and  the  10  for  1  in  Bagdad  (a.h.  632),  I  regai'd 
them  as  entirely  worthless  for  the  purpose  of  deducing  the 
ratio  of  value  between  silver  and  gold. 

The  moslem  always  respected  the  10  dirhems  for  1 
dinar,  just  as  the  Romans  respected  the  12  silver  for  1  gold, 
and  from  similar  motives.  The  relation  of  the  dirhem  to 
the  dinar  was  ascribed  to  the  law  of  the  Prophet ;  the 
relation  of  12  silver  for  1  gold  was  fixed  by  Julius  Ceesar. 
The  former  was  not  altered  while  the  empire  of  Islam 
lasted;  the  latter  remained  unchanged  until  the  throne 
of  the  Cffisars  was  overturned. 

The  prototype  of  the  dinar  has  been  mentioned  ;  it 
was  the  Roman  solidus.  The  dirhem,  according  to  Sau- 
vaire's  translation  of  El  Damiry,  was  based  upon  an 
average  of  the  three  sorts  of  silver  coins  then  circulating 
in  the  Persian  dominions.  Those  Avith  the  efiigy  of  the 
iing  and  the  legend  NOUCH  KHOR,or  ''Feast  in  Health," 
■weighed   one    mithcal.      Of    the    Samarys  dirhems    there 


■were  two  sorts,  one  weighing  six-tenths  of  a  mitlical,  the 
other  half  a  mithcal.  The  inscriptions  on  these  coins  were 
in  Pehlvic.  An  average  of  the  three  sorts  made  seven- 
tenths  of  a  mithcal,  and  accordingly^  this  was  the  weight 
o£  the  Arabian  dirhem  adopted  by  Abd-el-Melik.  In 
A.H.  1276  (a.d.  1859)  a  Persian,  named  Djevad,  paid  into  i 
the  post-office  at  Constantinople  a  dirhem  struck  at 
Eassora  in  a.h.  40.  This  dirhem  is  now  in  the  Paris 
collection.  Its  weight  is  36"13  English  grains,  but  it  is 
somewhat  worn,  and  it  may  have  originally  weighed 
seven-tenths  of  a  mithcal.  It  has  been  submitted  to 
Mordtmann,  Rogers,  Longperier,  Sauvaire,  Waddington, 
and  other  competent  judges,  all  of  whom  pronounced  it 
genuine,  the  only  dissentient  voice  being  that  of  Mr.  J. 
Stickel.^  If  genuine  it  rather  discredits  the  Arabian 
account  of  the  manner  in  w^hich  Abd-el-Melik  got  the 
weight  of  his  dirhem,  for  it  belongs  to  the  reign  of  Ali, 
and  the  averaging  of  the  three  sorts  of  dirhems,  if  it  was 
done  at  all,  must  have  been  done  by  him.  This  view  is 
sustained  by  the  tale  equivalents  cited  from  the  Koran,  a 
work  revised  in  the  reign  of  Othman  or  Ali.  However, 
the  Bassora  coin  may  have  followed  the  Samarys  dirhem 
of  six-tenths  of  a  mithcal,  in  which  case  its  original  weight 
was  39  grains. 

The  prerogative  of  coining  became  vested  in  the 
•caliphate  from  the  moment  of  its  inception.  ''  I  have 
left  to  Irak  its  dinar  and  to  Syria  its  dirhem  ■"  is  a  boast 
ascribed  to  Mahomet,  and  which,  whether  true  or  false, 
and  whether  uttered  by  Mahomet  or  somebody  else  of  the 
same  era,  implies  control  of  the  coinage  from  some  centre 
of  administration,  either  religious  or  civil.  This  is  a 
point  which  will  be  discussed  farther  on.  During  the 
conquest,  before  the  central  administration  was  organised, 
the  emirs  or  commanders  in  the  field  struck  coins.  Tbis 
was  merely  to  facilitate  the  distribution  of  the  spoil,  for 
these  coins  were  exact  fac-similes  of  those  already  in  cir- 
^  J.  Stickel,  in  '' Handbuch  zur  Morgenlandischer  Munzkunde,"  p.  51. 


culation,  including  their  religious  emblems  and  legends. 
The  division  of  the  spoil  was  regulated  by  the  Koran  ; 
in  all  cases  one-fifth  of  it  went  to  the  hierarchy.  "When- 
ever ye  seize  anything  as  a  spoil,  to  God  belongs  a  fifth 
thereof.^'  (Spoils,  viii ;  Medina,  v.  40).  This  is  the  origin 
of  the  Royal  Quinto,  which  the  Spanish  monarchs  after- 
wards exacted  fi'om  the  conquerors  of  America.^  The 
coins  of  the  emirs  extend  from  about  a.h.  5  to  a.h.  60. 
In  a  few  instances  such  coinages  continued  after  the 
administration  was  centralised  by  Abd-el-Melik,  but  they 
were  gradually  suppressed  until  the  entire  system  was 
brought  under  the  control  of  the  caliph.  We  have  the 
assurances  of  the  Arabian  numismatists  and  the  cor- 
roboration of  Lavoix  that  such  control  was  rigidly  exer- 
cised and  jealously  guarded.^  No  private  individual 
dared  strike  a  coin ;  no  individual  had  the  right  to 
require  the  government  to  strike  a  coin  for  him  ;  it  was 
a  felony  for  any  person  or  corporation  other  than  the 
State  either  to  fabricate  or  destroy  a  coin. 

In  respect  to  the  emir  coinages  the  policy  of  the 
Arabians  was  similar  to  that  of  the  Romans  during  the 
Punic  Avars,  when  the  State,  for  reasons  of  convenience, 
permitted  its  commanders  in  the  field  to  strike  coins. 
Such  was  the  whole  foundation  of  that  imaginary  "  pre- 
rogative of  the  imperium,"  with  which  Mommsen  and 
Lenormant  have  enlivened  the  pages  of  their  works  on 
the  Roman  monetary  system.  In  the  Roman  empire  all 
suggestions  of  such  a  prerogative  must  certainly  cease 
from  the  tiiiie  when  Augustus  organised  the  administra- 
tion ;  in  Islam  they  disappear  with  the  coinage  reforms 
of  Abd-el-Melik.  In  both  cases  the  coinage  was  really 
the  prerogative  of  the  State,  and  was  only  exei'cised  by 
the  imperatores,  emirs,  or  commanders  in  the  field,  under 
the  actual  or  anticipated  authority  of  the  State.  In  both 
cases  the  coinage  became  the  prerogative  of  that  hierarchy 

'  See  my  previous  works  for  full  discussions  on  this  subject. 
-Henri  Lavoix,  "Catalogue  des  Monnais  Musulmanes,"  1891,  4to. 


into  which  the  State  developed.  In  both  cases  the  coins 
were  employed,  not  merely  for  money,  but  also  as  means 
to  proclaim  accessions  and  to  promulgate  and  disseminate 
religious  doctrine. 

But  here  the  analogy  ends.  The  Roman  hierarchy 
continued  down  to  the  time  when  Constantinople  was 
overthrown  by  the  troops  and  allies  of  the  Latin  pope ; 
until  that  event  the  coinage  of  gold  was  exercised  solely 
by  the  Basileus. 

Says  Freeman  :  "  That  the  caliph  of  the  Prophet  was 
the  lawful  lord  of  the  world  no  true  believer  thought  of 
doubting ;  but  who  really  was  the  caliph  of  the  Prophet 
was  a  question  on  which  opinions  might  widely  differ.^' 

It  was  the  same  with  the  Roman  government.  That 
the  Augustus  was  the  lawful  lord  of  the  world  no  one 
presumed  to  question  ;  but  who  was  the  lawful  Augustus 
was  often  a  matter  of  vital  dispute.  The  difference 
between  the  Roman  and  Arabian  hierarchies — at  least  so 
far  as  such  difference  affected  the  monetary  system — was 
of  another  character.  In  the  Roman  empire  the  right  to 
coin  gold  always  remained  with  the  sovereign-pontiff,  and 
was  never  exercised  by  any  other  authority ;  in  the 
Arabian  empire,  after  the  revolt  of  Spain  and  Egypt 
from  the  authority  of  the  caliph,  it  was  lost  by  the  latter, 
and  became  vested  in  the  independent  sovereigns  of  those 
States,  and  was  exercised  by  them  and  by  other  moslem 
sovereigns  who  had  thrown  off  the  same  authority.  A 
belief  in  the  unity  of  God  is  not  favourable  to  the 
maintenance  of  an  hierarchy. 

According  to  Lavoix,  the  gold  dinar  was  the  only  full 
legal-tender  coin  of  the  moslem  in  Egypt.  This  may 
have  been  the  case  elsewhere  in  the  Arabian  empire,  but 
so  far  as  we  can  determine,  not  in  Spain  nor  in  India.  In 
those  States  both  gold  and  silver  coins  seem  to  have  been 
clothed  Avith  the  full  legal-tender  function.  This  only 
ceased  to  be  true  when  the  latter  were  adulterated. 



Sterling  standard — Type  of  the  penny — Arabian  coins  in  Gotland — 
Offa's  dinar — The  mark — The  mancns — Arabian  moneyers  in  England 
— Arabian  ratio — Arabian  metallurgists — The  Gothic-Arabian  monetary 

/~\UR  account  of  English  moneys  begins  with  the 
^-^  moslem  remains  which  have  been  found  in  England. 
This  does  not  allude  either  to  the  Moorish  troops  whom 
the  Romans  stationed  at  Watchtowers  nor  to  the  reputed 
Arabian  remains  in  the  Yorkshire  Tyke  (Tyrkr)  dialect, 
but  to  the  numismatic  monuments  of  the  medieeval  age.^ 
For  reasons  which  will  pi^esently  be  adduced,  we  venture 
to  regard  the  sterling  standard  of  England  as  practically 
of  moslem  origin.  By  sterling  standard  we  mean,  not 
the  nummulary  terms  £.  s.  d.,  but  the  metallic  com- 
position of  the  silver  sterlings — the  alliage  of  all  the  best 
silver  coins  now  extant  of  mediasval  England.  The 
mancus  and  carat  are  certainly  moslem.  The  peculiar 
ratio  of  value  between  the  precious  metals  in  medieval 
England  was  either  wholly  moslem  or  largely  due  to 
moslem  influence.  There  is  reason  to  believe  that  the 
sterling-  alliao-e  was  also  moslem. 

Although   we    have   no   Gothic-Arabian    coin    with    an 
Arabian  inscription  earlier  than  Offa,  and  only  one  of  that 

'  Muratori  III  (Dissert,  si,  pp.  686-708)  prints  some  rhymes  embodying 
the  medical  precepts  of  the  Arabians,  which  were  addressed  by  a  student 
at  Bagdad,  to  Edward  Confessor,  Eex  Anglorum.  The  English  words 
admiral,  algebra,  alkali,  almanac,  cotton,  cypher,  damask,  damson,  sheriff, 
and  many  others  are  well  known  to  be  Arabian.  What  is  alluded  to  in 
the  text  is  an  obscure  dialect  only  spoken  in  Northumberland. 


prince,  it  is  probable  that  otber  Arabian  types  of  coins 
were  introduced  into  England  during  the  seventh  century; 
for  that  period  coincides  alike  with  the  earliest  mention 
of  the  Arabian  mancus  in  England  and  with  the  appearance 
of  flat  thin  coins  of  nearly  pure  silver  (and  Arabian  type), 
in  place  of  the  lumpish  ones  of  composite  metal  which 
preceded  them. 

The  moslem  monuments  of  England  may  be  con- 
veniently described  under  the  several  heads  of  :  Type  of 
the  so-called  penny  ;  Arabian  coins  found  in  Scandinavia  ; 
Offals  dinar ;  Arabian  moneyers  in  England ;  Arabian 
ratio  in  England  ;  Arabian  pre-eminence  in  the  metal- 
lurgical arts ;  and  the  practically  Arabian  origin  of 

Type  of  the  so-called  Penny. — This  piece  is  a  flat  thin 
round  silver  coin,  about  three-quarters  to  seven-eighths  of 
an  inch  in  diameter  ;  in  weight,  from  17  in  the  earlier,  to 
21i  grains  in  the  later,  ages.  It  roughly  coincided  with 
both  the  Byzantine  half-siliqua,  or  quarter-miliaresion,  and 
the  Norse  scat,  but  it  differs  from  them  in  size,  com- 
position, and  design.  These  last-named  pieces,  especially 
the  scats,  are  thicker  and  smaller,  the  diameter  of  the 
latter  being  usually  about  half-an-inch.  The  standard 
of  the  so-called  penny  is  0*925  to  0'960  fine,  that  of  the 
quarter-miliaresion  is  about  0*900,  and  of  the  scats  of  this 
period  indeterminable,  because  they  were  not  made  of 
refined  silver,  but  of  old  jewellery.  Pieces  of  the  type 
of  the  so-called  penny,  and  known  at  the  time  as  half- 
dirhems,  were  coined  by  the  Arabians  in  the  seventh 
century,  and  carried  by  their  armies  to  the  coasts  of  the 
Caspian  and,  during  the  eighth  century,  into  northern 
Africa,  Spain,  and  France.  Whilst  the  moslem  were  in 
possession  of  a  large  portion  of  France,  Charles  Martel 
,  struck  coins  of  the  same  si.^e,  weight,  and  composition  as 
their  dirhems,  while  Pepin  the  Short  imitated  their  half- 
dirhems.  Modern  numismatists  call  these  last-named 
pieces  deniers,  or  pennies.      The  design  of  the  half-dirhem 


'was  simply  a  few  lines  of  writing  with  arabesque  work. 
[Sucli,  alsOj  was  tlie  design  upon  tlie  so-called  pennies  of 
the  Norse  or  Anglo-Saxon  kings  of  England.  Afterwards 
.they  stamped  their  own  effigies  on  one  side;  but  this  was 
Inot  a  moslem  pi'actice,  for  with  them  it  was  strictly 
[forbidden  both  by  law  and  custom. 

!      Although    the    use    of    the   Arabian    gold    mancus   in 

[England   during  the  seventh  century,  and   the  hoards  of 

Arabian  silver  coins — some   of  them    bearing   an  equally 

early    date — which  have  been   found   in    Gotland  and  in 

[many    other    places    in    Scandinavia,    afford    reason    for 

believing   that    the  silver  dirhem    and  half-dirhem   were 

; employed  in  England   at   the  same  period,   yet   the  first 

j certain  appearance  of  what  we    have  ventured    to  regard 

as  the  half-dirhem  type  in  England  was  during  the  reign 

of   Ethelbert  II,  king  of   Kent,  who  struck  a   silver  coin 

!of  that   description.      It  circulated   side  by  side  with  the 

gold    mancus    of    unquestionably    Arabian    origin,^   thus 

;  leaving  but   little   room   to  doubt  the  Arabian   parentage 

I  of  the  former.      Locally,  however,  the  coin  was  nob  known 

■  as   the    half-dirhem,   but  variously  as   the   scat   and    the 

[penny,   according    to   the    local    prevalence  of    Gothic   or 

;  Eoman  nomenclature.      At   a  later  period   it  was  appro- 

Ipriately  called  the  "  sterling.'' 

\  Arabian  Coins  found  in  Gotland,  Sfc. — More  than  20,000 
ji  moslem  coins  have  been  found  in  various  parts  of 
'  Scandinavia,  chiefly  in  Gotland,  some  dated  so  early  as 
'  A.H.  79,  others  so  late  as  a.h.  401.  The  presence  of  such 
large  numbers  of  these  coins  evinces  an  extensive  com- 
merce with  Arabians,  and  implies  the  currency  of  their 
■coins  and  familiarity  with  their  ratio  in  Scandinavia  and 
I  probably    also    in   Mercia    and     Northumbria — in    short, 

^  Keary  assigns  the  first  coins  of  this  type  to  a  still  later  date.     "  The 

s  pennies  of  OfEa,  struck  about  the  year  760,  were  the  first  ever  struck  in 

England.     Their  artistic  beauty  was  not  equalled  for  many  centuries,  not 

until  the  period  of  Henry  VII"  ("English  Coins,"  p.  xxii).  These  so-called 

k  pennies  we  regard  as  half-dirhems.     The  penny,  or  Roman  denarius,  was 

j  of  a  different  size,  thickness,  and  metallic  composition. 


Scandinavian   England,  or   all   England   nortli  of  a  line 
drawn  between  the  Severn  and  the  Wash.^ 

Offa's  Dinar. — In  every  country  which  fell  beneath  their  I 
sway,  whether  Syria,  Irak  (Persia),  Egypt,  Barbary, 
Spain,  or  Sicily,  the  Arabians  struck  bilingual  coins  of 
the  denominations  and  partly  of  the  type  of  those  which 
.they  found  in  circulation.  "  I  left  to  Irak  its  dinar,  to 
Syria  its  dirhem,"  boasted  Mahomet.  His  successors 
took  care  to  observe  this  wise  policy.  From  the  reign  of  . 
Abd-el-Melik  coins  were  struck  by  Arabian  moneyers  , 
after  the  type  of  the  dinars  and  dirhems  which  he  pre- 
scribed. A  gold  dinar  of  this  character  belongs  to  the- 
reign  of  Oifa,  king  of  Mercia,^  and  its  type  is  only  to  be 
accounted  for  upon  the  supposition  that  that  prince  waa 
obliged  to  employ  Arabian  moneyers.  On  this  coin 
appears,  in  Arabic,  the  words  "  In  the  name  of  Grod: 
This  dinar  was  struck  in  the  year  157'^  (a.d.  774). 
The  I'everse  has  :  "  Mahomet  is  the  messenger  of  God, 
who  sent  him  with  the  doctrine  and  true  faith  to  prevail 
over  every  other  religion,'^  and,  "  There  is  no  other  God 
than  one  God — He  has  no  equal.''  Between  the  lines, 
in  Latin,  appear  the  words  "  Offa  Rex.'^  A  description 
of  this  coin  by  Adrien  de  Longperier  is  published  in 
the  "  London  Numismatic  Chronicle,"  iv,  p.  232,  and  in 
Kenyon's  "  Gold  Coins  of  England,"  1884,  where  a  fac- 
simile also  appears  in  the  frontispiece.  The  coin  itself 
was  in  the  collection  of  the  Due  de  Blacas,  who  obtained 
it  in  Rome  about  the  year  1840.  It  contains  about  60' 
English  grains  of    fine  gold.      Its   genuineness  has  never 

'  At  the  period  mentioned  Kent  formed  part  of  the  Mercian  kingdom. 
Arabian  coins  of  gold  and  silver  have  also  been  found  eastward,  in  the 
Gothic  province  of  Novgorod,  and  in  Great  Permia.  Hundreds  of  round 
bronze  coins  with  ninic  characters  have  been  found  in  graves  betweea 
the  Irbyht  and  Toboll  rivers.  A  cut  of  one  appears  in  von  Strahlenberg's. 
valuable  work,  p.  408 ;  see  also  pages  110  and  409. 

2  Murcia  was  one  of  the  names  of  Venus  and  the  name  of  one  of  the' 
provinces  of  Spain.  The  gold  maravedi  was  sometimes  called  obolus  de- 

I     ,  EAELY   ENGLISH    MONEYS.  189 

been  doubted.  It  lias  been  asserted  tliat  towards  the 
end  of  bis  life  Offa  declared  or  pretended  fealty  to  the 
pontificate^  and  was  summoned  to  Rome,  where  he  per- 
formed  homage   and    entered    into    an  obligation   to  pay 

•  to   the    Holy    See   365    mancusses  a  year  as  Eome-scat. 

■  The  conversion  and  the  pilgrimage  to  Rome  are  doubtful. 

'  Longperier  believes  that  the  bilingual  dinar  was  the  sort 
of  coin  stipulated.  Its  heretical  inscription,  which, 
although  in  Arabic,  could  not  have  remained  long  unread, 
supplies  a  reason  for  its  early  suppression  and  present 

The  JIarJi. — The  origin  of  the  mark  has  ever  been  a 
mystery  to  the  metrologists.  Agricola  says  it  is  men- 
tioned  in  the  earliest  annals  of  the  Cimbrian  peninsular."^ 

'  This  carries  it  back  to  the  third  century.  Queipo  deduces 
it   from    the    half-rotl  of    Ptolemaic   Egypt ;   De  Vienne, 

•  following  the  German  metrologists,  traces  it  from  Etruria  ; 
'  whilst  Saigey  discovers  it  in  a  weight  which  he  imagines 

■  was  sent  by  Haroun-al-Raschid  to  Charlemagne  before 
the  year  789.  These  metr£»logists  must  have  overlooked 
Agricola  ;  they  also  forgot  the  common  custom  of  antiquity 
in  using  coins  for  weights.^  Instead  of  seeking  the 
origin  of  this  weight,  as  they  have  done,  by  means  of 
mere  literary  coincidences,  had  they  placed  in  a  scale  two- 
thirds  of  the  silver  coins  representing  a  Roman  "libra'' 
they  would  have  found  the  mark  at  once.  In  the  first 
place  it  is  quite  evident  that  the  name  "  mark  "  is  neither 
Egyptian,  Etruscan,  Gaulish,  or  even  Arabic,  but  Gothic. 
Among  the  Saxons  it  meant  a  collective  number  of  men 
or  things — a  community,  a  society,  a  clan,  a  market. 
Applied   to   money,  it    meant    precisely  what   the  Roman 

'      ^  We    are   informed  that  upon  Offa's  return  to  England  he  built  a 

■  monastery  at  Holmhurst,  near  St.  Albans,  another  at  Bath,  and  a  church 
'at   Off-Church    in  Warwickshire,    and  that  he  was    buried    at  Bedford 

(Speed,  p.  362,  ed.  1650,  fol.).     Perhaps. 

'Bircherod,  "  Moneta  Danomm,"  ed.  1566,  p.  7. 

*  See  Herodotus,  i,  p.  65,  where  hair  is  weighed  with  a  silver  coin  in 



'^  libva  "  of  the  Theodosian  code  meant,  namely,  five  gold 
aureii,  or  else  theii'  equivalent  value  in  silver.  Among 
the  Romans  this  equivalent  was  twelve  times  the  weight 
of  the  gold  ;  among  the  Noi-thmen  it  meant  eight  times, 
because  the  ratio  in  Gothic  coins  was  8  for  1  ; 
hence  the  mark  of  money  was  always  two-thirds  of  the 
"  libra  '^  of  money,  not  of  the  Roman  libra  weight.  During' 
the  third  century,  between  the  reigns  of  Caracalla  and' 
Probus,  the  aureus  was  degraded  to  90  English  grains 
fine ;  consequently  a  "  libra "  of  money  contained  450 
grains  of  gold.  The  Roman  equivalent  of  this  weight 
of  gold  in  the  silver  coins  with  which  the  barbarians 
paid  their  tribute  was  5,400  grains.  The  Saxon  equivalent 
of  a  gold  libra  of  this  period  was  (at  8  for  1)  3,600 
grains,  which  is  the  Saxon  mark  weight.^  In  short, 
the  mark  was  originally  the  Gothic  equivalent  at  the 
ratio  of  8  for  1  of  a  Roman  libra.^  From  this 
mark  of  money  descended  the  mark  weight,  and  from 
the  mark  weight  the  livre  poid  de  marc  (two  marks)  of 
King  John  of  France. 

The    mark    of    money    is    mentioned    in    the    reign   of 
Osbright,  or   Osbercht,  the  Norse   pagan  king  of  North-  i 
umbria  (848-67)  ;  in  the  Alfred-Guthrum  Treaty  of  878 ;  ■ 
in  the   "  Formanna  Sogur,"  vi,  p.  271  (a  work  ascribed  to 
the  tenth  century) ;  and  in  many  other  Norse  writings. 

Tlie  Manciis,    Quarter-mancus,   and  Half-dirhem. — The 
gold  dinar  or  mancus   contained   at  first  65  grains,  0*979 

^  Bishop  Fleetwood  ("  Chron.  Prec")  regards  the  mark  of  money  and 
the  mancus  coin  as  identical,  hut  in  this  instance  the  learned  and  venerable 
numismatist  is  hopelessly  wrong.  Among  other  proofs  the  lawyer's  fee 
of  half  a  mark  is  still  extant  to  refute  him. 

2  These  were  the  marks  alluded  to  by  Louis  IX,  in  his  reply  to  the 
moslem  demand  of  ransom.  But,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  in  the  various  tem- 
porary valuations  which  were  made  in  the  course  of  changing  from  the 
moslem  or  the  Saxon  to  the  Roman  ratio,  the  mark  of  account  was  not 
always  valued  at  two-thirds  of  the  libra  of  account.  There  are  instances 
when  the  valuation  was  150  pence  to  the  mark,  and  at  the  same  time  240 
pence  to  the  "  libra." 


fine,  saj  63§  grains  fine,  afterwards  about  60  grains  fine. 
Two  heretical  and  exceptional  mancusses  (so  called)  of 
54^  and  51i  grains  gross  weight  are  mentioned  elsewhere. 
In  purity  and  colour  the  mancus  resembled  no  other  coin 
3f  the  Western  world ;  hence  it  always  retained  the 
Arabian  name  of  mancoushj  or,  as  Latinized,  mancus.^ 
,Such  was  not  the  good  fortune  either  of  the  gold 
jquarter- mancus  or  of  the  silver  half-dirhem.  These  being 
smaller  and  less  valuable  coins,  their  superior  purity  and 
slightly  different  weight  went  unheeded,  and  in  the  inter- 
course between  Goth,  or  Anglo-Saxon,  and  Roman,  which 
took  place  in  England,  they  passed  respectively  for  the 
gold  sicilicus  and  silver  denarius.  Although  there  was  a 
jdifference  in  their  purity,  there  was  substantially  none  in 
the  net  contents  of  the  mancus  and  besant,  and  these  also 
.passed  for  one  another.  As  greater  precision  was  obtained 
,in  refining  the  precious  metals,  and  in  striking  coins  of 
uniform  weight,  this  practice  gradually  fell  into  disuse,  but 
not  until  it  had  left  the  nummulary  language  of  the  period 
in  great  confusion.  However,  much  of  this  disappears 
:when  the  weights  and  fineness  of  the  two  classes  of  coins, 
^Arabian  and  Byzantine,  are  contrasted  in  tabulary  form. 
It  is  then  perceived  that  while  there  was  disagreement 
between  the  gross  weights  of  the  one  set  and  those  of 
the  other,  there  was  little  or  none  in  the  fine  contents  of 
the  gold    coins,  and   also  that   each    set   of   coins  was  by 

.itself  harmonious. 

Arabian  coins,  0-960  to  0-980  fine. 




Eng.  gr. 

Eng.  gr. 

Gold  dinar  or  mancus  ^        .         .         .         . 



Gold  quarter-mancus            .         .         .         . 



Silver  half-dirhem  (0-925  to  0960  fine)       . 



'  Wex,  "  Metrologie,"  p.  114  ;  De  Yienne,  "  Livre  d' Argent,"  pp.  43 — 
56.  Without  agreeing  with  the  conclusions  of  either  of  these  writers,  their 
works  contain  much  incidental  information  on  this  difficult  subject. 

-  The  dinar  was  probably  struck  sixty  to  the  mark  weight,  then  of 
3,600  to  3,7774  grains,  while  the  besant  was  struck  seventj-two  to  the 


Byzantine  coins  under  Heraclius,  about  O'QOO  fine. 

Gross  Net 

Eng.  gr.  Eng.  gr. 
Gold  solidus,  or  besant         ....     7000  63-00 

Gold  sicilicus,  or  skilling     ....     17'50  15"7o 

Silver  quarter-drachma,  or  whole  denarius, 

or  penny 17*50  1575 

Arabian  Money  ers  in  England. — Among  the  money  erg 
of  the  Norse  and  Anglo-Saxon  kings,  and  afterwards  oi 
•other  kings  of  England,  are  many  whose  names  are 
•clearly  Arabian.  These  names  are  :  Ahlman,  Ahlraund, 
Almuth,  Alchised,  Alchred,  Abenel,  Adulfere,  Alghere, 
Alvyda,  Abba,  Aldruri,  Baba,  Babba,  Beriche,  Bosa, 
Baee,  Bofa,  Bora,  Buga,  Buiga,  Dealla,  Diar,  Diola,  Duda, 
Dela,  Dia,  Deid,  Diora,  Eckber,  Eoba,  Eaba,  Eana,  Elda, 
Enodas,  Gineef,  Heaber,  Hussa,  Hdiraf,  Ibba,  Idiga, 
laia,  Lulla,  Liaba,  Ludic,  Lil,  Messa,  Nom,  Osmund, 
'Osyaef,  Ohlmund,  Oshere,  Osmere,  Oba,  Osmune,  Oeldai, 
Tatel,  Teveh,  Tevica,  Tata,  Tila,  Tisa. 

Five  centuries  later  than  this  period,  Edward  I,  was 
obliged  to  send  to  Marseilles  and  Florence  for  artists 
skilled  in  refining  and  coining  the  precious  metals.^ 
Indeed,  this  was  a  common  practice  in  England  down  to 
the  fifteenth  century  ;  and  it  is  not  too  much  to  suppose 
that  the  princes  of  the  heptarchy  sent  in  like  manner  for 
Arabian  moneyers. 

Arabian  Ratio  in  England. — As  will  be  seen  in  another 
place,  the  ratio  of  value  between  gold  and  silver  was 
fixed  by  the  coinages  of  Ethelbert,  king  of  Kent,  and 
Offa,  king  of  Mercia,  and  perhaps  other  early  English 
princes,  at  6|  silver  for  1  gold.  This  was  a  distinctly 
Arabian    ratio,    that     of     the    Byzantine    Empire   being 

Roman  libra  of,  say,  5,250  grains ;  the  sicilicus  288  or  300  to  the  libra, 
•and  the  quarter-miliaresion  288  to  the  libra,  or  one-fourth  of  the  whole 
miliaresion  de  sportula,  which  was  ordered  to  be  struck  seventy-two  to 
■the  libra  (M.  de  Vienne). 
'  Lowdnes  on  Coins,  p.  94. 


always  12  for  1.     The  coinages  of  those  Merovingian  kings 
of  France  who   spurned   the  authority  of  Rome   must  be 
classed,    like    Offa's,    with    the   Arabian.      The  following 
'  table  affords  a  view  of  various  ratios  of  silver  to  gold  pre- 
valent in  England  from  the  early  portion  of  the  eighth  to 
,  the  twelfth  century.      Pepin  le  Bref  adopted  the   Roman 
i  monetary   system    in   754    or    755,   from    which   date  he 

■  refrained   from    striking    gold.       The  ratio    of  valuation 

■  between  his  silver  coins  and  the  gold  solidi  of  the  Empire 
was  12  for  1,  for  the  solidus  is  valued  in  the  texts  of  the 

;  period  at  40  silver  pence,  and  the  quarter-solidus,  or 
J  petite  sou  d'or,  at  10  pence.  The  ratio  being  12  for  1  in 
\  France,  it  is  difficult  but  not  impossible  to  believe  that, 
[  at  the  same  period,  it  was   successfully  and   permanently 

kept  at  6|  or  6|   for   1   in  England.      However,  there  is 

no    reason    to    doubt   the    ratios    deduced    in    the    table. 

The  influence  of  Pepin's  12  for  1  is  seen  in  the  coinages 

of  our  Alfred. 

Ratio  of  silver  to  1  gold  in  the  moneys  of  England  from  the  eighth  to 
the  twelfth  century. 

East  Indian,  Eastern-Arabian,  and  Spanish-Ara- 
bian coins  of  seventh  and  eighth  centuries. 
Coins  of  Ethelbert  II,  king  of  Kent. 
Coins  of  Offa,  king  of  Mercia. 
Valuations  of  Egbert,  king  of  Wessex. 
Coins  of  Burgred,  king  of  Mercia. 
First  coin  valuations  of  Alfred. 
Second  „  ,, 

Valuations  of  Athelstan,  son  of  Edward,  elder. 

„  Ethelred  II,  king  of  Wessex. 

,,  Canute. 

„  Edward  Confessor. 

William  I. 

„  William  Rufus. 

The  Arabian  ratio  was  adopted  in  England  during  the 
seventh  century.     It  lasted  without  any  substantial  altera- 


Period  a.d. 


650—  750 


725-  760 


758—  796 


800—  836 


852—  874 


874—  878 


878—  (?) 


(?)  —  901 


925—  941 













tion  until  the  second  valuation  of  Alfred — a  period  of 
about  two  hundred  years,  and  this  in  spite  of  its  great 
variance  with  the  Roman  ratio. ^ 

Arabian  pre-eminence  in  the  Metallurgical  Arts. — Except 
the  Byzantines  and  Arabs,  there  were  few  or  no  raoneyers 
in  Europe  during  the  seventh  and  eighth  centuries  who 
were  able  to  reduce  gold  or  silver  to  the  uniform  fineness 
requisite  for  the  coinages  of  new  and,  as  yet,  untried 
mints  and  governments.  Mr.  Keary's  assays  of  the  early 
Norse  scats  fully  prove  this  view  with  regard  to  English 
moneyers.  The  cutting  of  steel  dies  was  another  me- 
chanical difiiculty.  To  the  Gothic  mints  of  the  dark 
ages  it  was  substantially  insuperable. 

The  earliest  coinages  of  mediaaval  England  are  later 
than  those  of  France.  Dr.  Ruding's  flourish  about  the 
pontificate  of  pope  Hadrian  I,  cannot  weaken  the  assertion 
that,  down  to  nearly  the  beginning  of  the  seventh  century, 
no  Anglo-Saxon  coins,  other  than  the  rude  unlettered 
products  of  the  early  mints,  were  struck  in  England. 
The  moslem  occupation  of  Spain  and  southern  France,  so 
long  as  it  lasted,  put  an  end  to  the  exercise  of  the  coinage 
prerogative  of  the  Byzantine  emperors  in  those  countries. 
The  last  triente  struck  by  Roderic  of  Spain  was  coined 
under  Byzantine  authority,  and  this  was  followed,  with 
scarcely  any  interval  of  time,  by  the  bilingual  coins  of 
Mousa-ben-Nozier.  The  refining  of  the  precious  metals 
and  the  cutting  of  steel  dies  for  the  West  now  fell  wholly 
into  the  hands  of  the  Arabians,  and,  taking  into  account 
the  Gothic  aversion  to  the  Byzantine  hierarchy,  it  would 
be  difficult  to  advance  any  valid  proofs  that  the  nearly 
pure  mintages  of  pagan  gold  and  silver,  which  appeared 
in  England  during  the  seventh  and  eighth  centuries, 
could,  under  the  circumstances,  have  been  effected  without 
the  aid  of  Arabian  artists  and  moneyers. 
V      Practically  Arabian  Origin   of  Sterling. — This   term   is 

^  Foi*  further  information   on   Arabian    ratio   and   coinages,  consult 
"  Money  and  Civilization." 

I   ,  EARLY    ENGLISH    MONEYS.  195 

now  applied  to  distinguisli  coins,  or  bullion,  of  a  standard 
fineness,  or  alliage,  of  metal,  equal  to  that  of  certain 
sterling  or  easterling  coins,  or  "  sterlings  "  of  the  middle 
ao-es.  This  standard,  afterwards  called  "  old  sterling,'^ 
was  0-995  for  gold  and  0-925  for  silver/ 

There  have  been  many  explanations  of  the  term  sterling, 
none  of  which,  however,  are  free  from  objection.  There 
certainly  existed  during  the  eighth  century  an  important 
traffic  along  the  Gothic  zone,  which,  bounded  by  the 
50th  and  tJOth  parallels,  extended  from  Mongolia  to 
Britain,  and  found  its  chief  emporia  in  Novgorod  and 
Yinet,  the  eastern  and  western  portals  of  lestia."  The 
money  chiefly  employed  in  this  trade,  as  we  know  from 
the  vast  quantities  of  it  which  have  been  dug  up  in 
modern  days,  was  Arabian  half-dirhems.  This  was  the 
current  money  of  lestia,  whose  cities  were  all  destroyed 
and  whose  records  and  monuments  all  perished  under  the 
proscriptions  of  Charlemagne  and  his  successors.  The 
earliest  mention  of  lesterling  money  which  occurs  in 
Western  literature  appears  in  the  laws  of  the  Ripuarian 
Franks.  Hovenden,  as  cited  in  HoUingshed,  attributes 
the  term  sterling  (indicating  a  coin)  to  the  reign  of 
Osbright,  the  pagan  king  of  Xorthumberland  (a. D.  848—67).'^ 
It  also  occurs  in  the  Alfred-Guthrum  Treaty,  still  meaning 
a  coin.  It  does  not  occur  in  Domesday  book,  where 
■"libra  arsa"  and  "arsura'^  are  used  to  indicate  the 
metallic  fineness  of  money,  and  denarius  to  indicate  the 
coin  in  common  use,  which,  to  the  Arabians,  was  a  half-  . 
dirhem,  and  to  the  Gothic  races,  as  we  are  persuaded, 
was  known  as  the  iesterling  or  esterling.  Ordei'icus 
Titalis,  an  author  born  during  the  reign  of  William  I, 
uses  the  expression,  "  XVlibr  sterilensium,"  meaning, 
doubtless,  £15  in  silver  pennies.*  The  word  sterling, 
meaning  a  certain    coin,  crept   into   extant   texts    during 

^  Lowndes  on  Coins,  p.  18.  ^  Von  Strahlenberg. 

^  Chambers's  Encyc. 

^  Samuel  Pegge,  in  "  Gent's.  Mag.,"  1756,  p.  456. 


the  reigns  of  the  Norman  and  Plaatagenet  kings,  anc 
in  the  dealings  of  the  Christian  Hansa  of  the  thirteentlj 
century.  The  origin  of  its  present  meaning  is  not  ena 
tirely  clear  ;  but,  as  the  degree  of  fineness  indicated, 
precisely  that  of  the  Arabian  coins  contemporaneous  wit 
the  heptarchy,  and  was  not  that  of  any  other  coini 
(unless  we  go  back  to  the  Roman  coins  of  the  thir( 
century),  it  is  all  but  certain  that  sterling  meant,  firs- 
the  Arabian  half-dirhem,  and  afterwards  the  Arabiai 
standard  for  coins.  The  only  people  who  struck  sucl 
coins  at  this  date  were  the  Arabians,  whether  in  Arabij 
Africa,  Spain,  France,  Persia,  Parthia,  or  Scythia ;  an( 
not  only  did  they  adopt  a  high  standard  for  coins,  the] 
struck  such  immense  quantities  of  them  as  to  fill  the 
channels  of  commerce,  and  render  the  standard  well 
known  and  typical.  Finally,  they  adhered  to  this  standard 
for  several  centuries,  and  thus  caused  it  to  be  depended 
upon  and  regarded  as  reliable,  which,  except  as  regards 
the  besants  of  the  sacred  Empire,  is  more  than  can  be 
said  of  any  other  coinages  of  the  dark  ages. 

These  marks  of  moslem  influence  upon  the  early 
monetary  types  of  England  are  submitted  to  the  indulgent 
criticism  of  archfeologists.  Before  the  discovery  of  these 
evidences  it  appeared  strange  to  the  author  that,  during 
a  period  when  Arabian  industry  and  commerce  and 
Arabian  art  and  literature  dominated  the  Western  world, 
no  traces  of  moslem  civilisation  were  to  be  found  in 
England — a  country  always  famous  for  its  maritime  pro- 
ficiency and  the  intimate  knowledge  of  other  maritime 
States  which  such  proficiency  promoted.  These  evidences 
bring  to  the  surface  a  link  in  the  chain  of  English  history, 
whose  long  subversion  finds  ample  explanation  in  the 
circumstances  of  the  age  to  which  it  relates,  and  whose 
recovery,  like  a  guide  through  a  labyrinth,  may  enable 
us  in  future  to  outline  with  more  assurance  the  stilli 
obscure  history  of  the  heptarchical  era. 

Grafted  upon  the  Gothic  monetary  system,  described  ini 

I    .  EAELY   ENGLISH  MONEYS.  197 

a  previous  cliaptei',  the  moslem  coins  aud  types  produced 
a  hybrid  system,  which  differed  from  its  predecessor 
ichiefly  in  the  weight  and  composition  of  the  scat  and  in 
jthe  number  of  scats  to  the  ora,  also  in  the  weight  of  the 
latter.  At  first  the  Gothic- Ai-abian  system  embraced  the 
following  coins  and  scale  of  equivalents,  but  as  time  went 
on  several  of  these  were  modified  : 


Gothic- Arabian  system  {eighth  century).     Ratio, 

6^  for  1. 

Coins.                                        Money. 

Value  in  scats 

8  stycas  (bronze)           .         1  scat  (silver)    . 


3  scats          ...         1  thrimsa 


5  scats          ...         1  ora  (gold) 


4  oi-as  ....         1  mancus,  or  dinar    . 


8  eras  ....         1  double  dinar  (dobla) 


20  oras  ....         1  mark  of  account     . 


Under  the  Salic  law,"  as  it  was  remodelled  by  Clovis, 
the  gold  sou,  solidus,  or  besant,  then  of  68  English  grains 
weight,  was  valued  in  Gaul  at  40  silver  deniers  (scats), 
then  of  17  English  grains  each — a  ratio  of  10  for  1.  This 
was  a  mean  between  the  Roman  and  Gothic  ratios. 

The  etymology  of  styca,  scat,  and  thrimsa  is  uncertain. 
Lye  derives  styca  from  the  Saxon  sticce,  but  to  this 
Ruding  objects  that  the  word  sticce  cannot  express  value 
distinct  from  magnitude  ;  and,  again,  why  not  sticce  from 
;styca,  rather  than  styca  from  sticce  ?  It  is  much  more 
likely  to  be  derived  from  the  oriental  word  for  a  cutting 
instrument.  Sicca  (Indian),  sycee  (Chinese),  styca 
(Gothic),    saiga    (Frankish),    siccal,   or  shekel    (Chaldean 

'  Abd-el-Eaman  spent  on  tbe  mosque  of  Cordova  over  600,000  doblas,  or 

"double  pieces,"  of  gold  (Calcott's  "Spain,"  i,  p.  152.) 

-  The  law  of  the  Salian  Franks  (from  the  river  Sala,  les-sel,  orYessel) 
'is  believed  to  have  been  compiled  after  the  Franks  were  established  in 
'the  Netherlands.  None  of  the  extant  compilations  are  of  an  earlier  date 
ithan  tbe  seventh  century.  The  original  compilation  was  in  Latin ;  in 
the  later  copies  there  are  some  German  words,  those  copies  containing 
the  most  German  words  being  the  most  recent  of  all  ("Wiarda,  "  Histoire 
et Explication  de  la  loi  Salique  ").  Upsala  (Sweden)  appears  to  be  another, 
ifonn  of  Ober  les-sel  (Holland). 


and  Hebrew),  zicca  (Arabian),  and  sequin  (Venetian 
are  evidently  tlie  same  word  and  meant  the  same  tliingr 
that  is  to  say,  an  instrument  or  tool  for  clipping  coins 
and,  by  metonym,  a  mint,  a  coin,  etc.  In  fact,  most  o 
the  coins  of  this  period  were  finished  with  the  shears.  As 
the  thrimsa  was  valued  at  three  scats,  its  name  was 
probably  derived  from  the  Latin  trium.  The  etymologj 
of  scat,  scad,  or  shad,  has  been  already  treated.  During 
the  dark  ages  the  Roman  imperial  fisc  in  Gaul  was  obligee, 
to  accept  its  revenues  and  make  its  payments  in  rations/ 
If  the  Eomans  were  obliged  to  use  rations  for  a  measure 
of  value  there  is  nothing  improbable  in  supposing  thai 
the  Norsemen  used  herrings.  Ora,  or  aurar,  is  obviouslj 
from  the  Latin  equivalent  for  gold.  The  term  is  stil 
employed  in  the  monetary  systems  of  Scandinavia 
Mancus  is  from  the  Arabian  mancoush,  coined  money,  anc 
this  from  the  verb  macasha,  to  strike.  Marcrus,  manenco 
etc.,  are  corrupted  synonyms." 

The  scat,  or  properly  half-dirhem,  of  this  period  was 
nearly  of  pure  silver,  thin  and  flat,  but  larger  anc 
heavier  than  the  composite  scat  which  preceded  it 
It  contained  21^  grains,  0-925  to  0-960  fine.  The  tern 
scat  is,  of  course,  a  name  given  to  these  pieces  by  moderr 
numismatists,  by  some  of  whom  they  are  termed  pennies 
but,  for  the  various  reasons  herein  adduced,  these  flat  thii 
pieces  must  be  regarded  typically  as  half-dirhems,  and  o\ 
Arabian  origin.  Owing  to  their  superior  weight  anc 
uniform  standard,  these  scats  were  now  reckoned  at  five 
to  the  ora  instead  of  eight,  as  their  namesakes  had  pre- 
viously been  reckoned.  The  thrimsa  (it  was  not  long  ir 
use)  was  either  a  coin  or  money  of  account,  valued  a1 
three  scats,  and  therefore  worth  three-fifths  of  the  ora  ol 
five  scats,  or  three-fourths  of  the  later  ora  of  four  scats. 

The   ora  of   this   hybrid   system  was  identical  both  ir 
weight  and  fineness  with  the  Arabian  quarter-dinar.      Il 

'  Guizot,  "  Hist.  Civ.,"  i,  p.  351. 

-  Longperier,  "  Re  vista  Num.,"  1844,  p.  292. 


contained  about  16^  grains  of  gold,  0*960  to  0"979  fine, 
or  nearly  16  grains  fine,  and  it  so  closely  tallied  in  con- 
;  tents  with  the  sicilicus,  or  gold  skilling,  as  to  pass,  at  least 
\  in  the  south  of  England,  for  the  latter.  It  is  called  a 
i  scilling  in  the  Christian  chronicles,  and  at  a  later  period 
i  it  found  its  way  by  the  same  Roman  name  into  the  Norse 
'  sagas.      "  Olaf  (1015—28)  went  southward  across  the  sea 

■  from  England  and  defeated  the  Yikings  before  Williamsby. 
;  He  captui'ed  Gunnvaldsborg  (in  Seljopollar)  and  levied  a 
i  ransom  on  it  and  the  jarl  of  12,000  gull  skillingar.^ 

The  gold  mancus,  or  dinar,  has  been  already  described. 
)  That  this  coin  circulated  iu  the  Norse  kingdoms  of 
1  England  the  frequency  of  its  mention  in  documents  of 
'  the  seventh  and  eighth  centuries  leaves  no  room  to  doubt. 
:  The  only  Gothic-Arabian  mancus  extant  is  the  unique 
j  coin  of  Offa,  and  this  is  stamped  a  "  dinar. '^  Of  the 
;  doblas,  or  double  dinars,  there  are  no  English  specimens 
'  extant,  although  there  are  plenty  of  Spanish-Arabian 
I  ones.      The  ratio  of  value  between  silver  and  gold  in  this 

■  system  is  indicated  by  dividing  the  fine  contents  of  the 
I  era  (about  16  grains)  into  that  of  its  legal  equivalent  of 
:  5  scats,  say  lOJ?    grains,  the  quotient  being-   6^.      Whilst 

this  was   the  ratio  in  both  the   Indian- Arabian,  Spanish- 
Ai'abian,  and  Anglo-Arabian  monetary  systems  of  this  era, 

I  it  must  not  be  forgotten  that  in  the  coinages  of  Byzantium 
the  ratio  was  always  12  ;  in  other  words,  that  the  Chris- 
tian valuation  of  gold  (in  silver)  was   nearly  double   that 

:  of  the  moslem. 

Such  are  the  moslem  remains  yet  to  be  found  in 
England — remains  which,  being  traced  upon  monuments 
that  the  impassioned  eyes  of  superstition  failed  to  per- 
ceive, fortunately  escaped  its  merciless  proscriptions.  To 
point  out  their  significance  and  bearing  upon  English 
history  is  a  task  that  belongs  to  the  philosopher  rather 
than  the  historian. 

'  Olaf's  saga,  c.  16. 



Summary  of  historical  evidences  furnished  by  the  materials  of  this 
chapter — No  coins  of  the  Anglo-Saxons  exist  earlier  than  Ethelbert — 
Pagan  gold  coins — Gothic  coins  of  Ethelred — Intei-polations  in  ancient 
texts — Moslem  coins  of  Offa  the  Goth— Rome-scat,  or  Peter's-pence — 
Egbert  adopts  the  Roman  system  of  £'.  s.  d. — Danish  invasions — Bur- 
gled is  defeated  and  interned  in  a  monastery — Guthrum  is  baptised  and 
reigns  as  Athelstan  II — Alfred  of  Wessex — Mingling  of  Gothic  and 
Christian  coins  and  denominations — Changes  of  ratio — Edward  the 
Elder — Athelstan — Edmund  I — Eadred — Leather  moneys — Ethelred  11 
— Danegeld — Canute  the  Dane — Harold  the  Dane — Edward  Confessor 
— Harold  II — Evidences  derived  from  these  researches. 

T^HE  monetary  systems  of  the  various  Auglo- Saxon 
-■-  States  were  of  such  essentially  different  structure 
as  to  denote  the  existence  of  different  governments  and 
religions,  some  Gothic,  others  Roman,  some  pagan,  others 
Christian.  After  the  era  of  baugs  these  States  employed 
oras,  scats,  and  stycas,  that  is  to  say,  native  coins  of  gold, 
electrum,  and  bronze,  all  of  somewhat  irregular  weights, 
bearing  no  marks  of  a  common  authority,  and  issued  by 
pagan  chieftains  owning  no  superior  or  over-lord.  The 
tale  relations  were  octonary,  and  the  ratio  of  silver  to 
gold  was  8  for  1.  At  a  later  period  some  features 
of  the  Arabian  monetary  system  were  grafted  on  the 
Gothic  :  the  mancus  and  half-dirhem — coins  of  sterling 
fineness  and  reo^ular  weio;hts — were  issued  or  circulated  in 
the  various  States,  the  tale  relations  exhibit  the  influence 
of  the  Arabian  decimal  system,  and  the  ratio  was  6| 
for   1. 

AVhen    they    successively    adopted    Christianity    these 
States  received  their  monetary  systems  from  Rome.      The 


coius  now  used  were  besants  (5  to  tlie  libra),  shillings, 
and  pence;  the  denominations  were  £.  s.  d. ;  the  weights 
were  accommodated  to  these  tale  relations,  which,  as  be- 
tween shillings  and  pence,  were  duodecimal ;  the  ratio  of 
silver  to  gold  was  duodecimal ;  and  the  coinage  preroga- 
tive, as  to  gold,  was  exercised  exclusively  by  the  emperors 
of  Rome,  and  granted  by  them  to  the  English  princes  as 
to  silver — practices  that  are  held  to  denote  both  the  feudal 
form  of  government  and  the  Roman  religion  of  the  vassal 
States.  Of  these  various  features  of  money  the  absten- 
tion from  the  coinage  of  gold  by  the  converted  princes, 
and  the  marked  difference  between  the  Christian,  Gothic, 
and  moslem  ratios  between  the  value  of  gold  and  silver, 
are  the  most  significant. 

It  will  simplify  the  subject  to  observe  :  first,  that  with 
few  exceptions,  which  will  be  noticed  as  we  go  along,  the 
only  English  coius  now  extant  of  the  heptarchical  period 
are  silver  scats,  half-dirhems,  and  pennies,  all  of  which, 
being  of  somewhat  similar  weight,  are  usually,  though 
erroneously,  classed  as  pennies ;  ^  second,  that  as  the 
Roman  ratio  was  always  12  for  1,  the  denarii  (of  which 
40  went  to  the  Roman  aureus,  when  the  latter  was 
struck  60  from  the  pound  weight  of  standard  gold) 
weighed  26^  grains  gross ;  third,  that  the  denarii  (valued 
at  40  to  the  aureus,  solidus,  or  besant,  when  the  latter 
was  struck  72  from  the  pound  weight)  weighed  21| 
grains  gross  ;  fourth,  that  the  denarii  (when  valued  at 
240  to  the  £.,  or  48  to  the  solidus)  weighed  about  19 i 
grains  gross,  or  18i  grains  fine.  There  wei-e  also  lower 
weights  to  the  denarius,  explained  elsewhere.  As  this 
was  the  prevailing  system  of  valuation  in  Christian  States 
of  the  period  answering  to  the  heptarchy,  it  follows, 
fifth,  that  when  any  so-called  denarii,  or  pennies,  belong- 
ing   to   such  period,   and   being    in    good    condition,   are 

*  There  is  nothing  but  historical  inference  to  prove  what  these  pieces 
■were  respectively  called  at  the  date  of  their  issue. 


found  to  contain  more  metal  than  is  here  indicated,\ 
they  were  either  struck  under  the  Gothic  or  Gothic- 
Arabian  systems,  and  were  really  silver  scats,  or  half- 
dirhems,  or  else,  if  of  Christian  stamp,  they  were  valued 
in  the  law,  at  the  time  of  their  issue,  at  more  than  a., 
penny  each — a  practice  concerning  the  prevalence  of 
which  we  have  the  testimony  both  of  Bishop  Fleetwood, 
and  M.  Guerard.  It  does  not,  however,  follow  from  this, 
rule  that  a  scat,  or  half-dirbem,  containing  more  silver i 
than  a  penny  was  worth  more  than  the  latter,  because,  as 
Christianity  and  "  pennies  "  gained  ground,  and  paganism, 
with  scats  and  dirhems  lost  ground,  the  latter,  evea 
when  heavier,  were  accorded  a  lower  value  in  the  law. 

The  earliest  coin  of  the  heptarchical  kings  now  extant- 
is  a  certain  unique  one  stamped  "  Ethelbert,''  containing- • 
about  20  grains  of  fine  silver.  Some  writers  ascribe  this, 
monument  to  Ethelbert  I,  but  there  is  not  sufficient, 
evidence  to  warrant  the  inference.  It  is  very  much  morer 
likely  to  have  been  an  issue  of  the  second  Ethelbert,  king 
of  Kent  (748—60),  replacing  the  composite  scat,  which  by. 
this  time  was  disappearing  in  the  refining  crucibles  of 
the  Arabian  moneyers.  Mr.  Keary  prefers,  indeed,  ta 
attribute  it  to  Ethelbert,  king  of  the  East  Angles,  who- 
died  in  792  or  793,  and,  moreover,  hints  that  its  genuine- 
ness is  not  above  suspicion.  Of  this  class  of  coins  twenty 
went  at  this  period  to  the  gold  mancus,  or  solidus,  of  60" 
grains  fine,  and  five  of  them  to  the  gold  ora,  or  shilling — < 
a  ratio  of  silver  to  gold  of  6|-  to  1,  thus  20  x  20  =  400- 
-^  60  =  6|-.  In  some  Anglo-Saxon  coinages  of  this 
period  the  ratio  was  6|  to  1,  in  others  6  to  1.  In  othei' 
words,  gold  in  England  was  valued  as  in  Asia  and. 
Arabia,  that  is  to  say,  at  half  the  price  (in  silver)  at  which 
it  was  maintained  by  the  sacred  empire  of  Rome.  The- 
adoption  of  the  oriental  ratio  in  England,  though  pro-i- 
bably    due    directly    to    the    influence    of    the    Arabian 

'  In  applying  this  rule  some  allowance  must  be  made  for  the  unskil- 
fulness  of  early  mints  in  striking  coins  of  an  uniform  weight. 


coinages  of  Spain,  may  also  have  been  superinduced  by 
the  Gothic-Arabian  trade  of  this  period  through  Russia 
and  the  Baltic.  Whatever  the  cause,  the  fact  is  believed 
I  to  be  indisputable,  and  as  its  acceptance  solves  many  of 
[  the  otherwise  inexplicable  problems  of  this  period,  it  is 
\  commended  to  the  careful  consideration  of  the  reader. 
I  Similar  ratios  of  6,  6h,  and  6^  for  1  will  be  found  in  the 
I  contemporaneous  coinages  and  valuations  of  Spain  and 
i    southern  France, 

f  Hawkins  and  Keary  both  intimate  that  during  the 
reign  of  Ethelbert  II,  thei^e  was  a  silver  penny  of  twelve  to 
I  the  shilling,  and  leave  it  to  be  inferred  that  there  was 
I  either  a  silver  shilling-  coin  or  a  shilling  of  account  em- 
ployed in  England  at  this  period.  A  silver  shilling  coin 
is  hardly  worth  discussing  ;  there  is  none  extant  and  there 
is  no  evidence  that  such  a  coin  ever  existed  until  the 
reign  of  Alfred,  and  even  then  it  is  by  no  means  cei'tain. 
,  At  all  previous  dates  the  shilling,  whenever  embodied  in 
i  a  coin,  was  made  of  gold.  With  regard  to  a  supposed 
silver  "  penny,"  of  which  twelve  went  to  the  shilling  of 
account,  this  is  an  inference  drawn  from  extant  copies 
of  the  laws  of  Ethelbert,  in  which  such  denominations  are 
mentioned.  But  as  it  is  quite  unlikely  that  two  coins, 
namely,  the  scat  and  the  penny,  of  nearly  similar  weight 
and  contents,  circulated  in  the  same  kingdom  side  by 
side,  the  one  five,  the  other  twelve,  to  the  shilling,  we 
must  regard  the  latter  as  an  anachronism  introduced  into 
copies  of  the  law  at  a  later  period,  when  there  were  indeed 
twelve  pence  to  the  shilling.  Ethelbert^s  laws  are  unique 
in  being  written  in  English,  but  the  MS.  is  Anglo- 
Norman  of  the  twelfth  century,  and  the  original  laws  have 
evidently  been  frequently  altered.^  Bishop  Fleetwood  has 
proved  several  anachronisms  in  the  monetary  terms 
employed  in  the  earlier  English  texts  of  laws.  The 
ratio  ^ttjQ  silver  to  1  gold,  assumed  by  Keary  for  the 
coinaHJWof  Ethelbert's  reign,  rests  upon  this  same 
^  Sir  Francis  Palgrave,  i,  p.  44. 


literary  and  probably  auacbronical  penny,  and  must  stand 
or  fall  with  it.  It  will  probably  be  found  difficult  to 
overthrow  the  ratio  of  6|-  derived  from  the  Anglo-Saxon 
valuation  of  20  silver  pence  to  the  besant.  Some  of  the 
other  conclusions  of  Mr.  Keary — for  example,  that  the 
thrimsa  was  a  tremissis,  that  the  pound  or  livre  of  money 
always  consisted  of  240  pence,  and  that  the  mark  weight 
was  (in  England)  half  a  pound  weight — will  incidently 
receive  consideration  as  we  proceed. 

The  tax  of  Peter's-pence  was  first  collected  in  England 
by  the  Roman  pontificate  from  Ina  of  Wessex.-"  It  is  also 
alleged  that  after  the  conversion  of  Offa  (about  790)  it 
was  levied  upon  that  prince,  who  testified  his  submission 
to  the  pope  by  going  to  Eome  in  793,  and  paying  him 
homage  in  person  ;  but  this  is  doubtful.  At  this  period 
Charlemagne  was  at  the  height  of  his  power,  France, 
Germany,  Saxony,  Hungary,  Italy,  and  even  a  portion  of 
Spain  acknowledged  his  sovereignty.  Pope  Hadrian  I, 
had  vowed  himself  Charlemagne's  liege  subject  and 
vassal,  and  governed  in  his  name.  If  Offa  acknowledged 
the  suzei'ainty  of  the  pope,  it  is  not  clear  whether  he 
intended  to  admit  or  ignore  that  of  Charlemagne,  the 
pope's  political  superior  or  suzerain.  Egbert,  a  Christian 
king  of  AVessex  (800-36),"  had  been  for  three  years  a 
soldier  in  the  army  of  Charlemagne.  He  obtained  his 
kingdom  through  the  good  offices  of  that  emperor,  to 
whom  he  swore  fealty  and  did  homage.  When  Charle- 
magne died  (814),  and  the  weak-minded  Louis  le  Debon- 
naire  was  brought  under  the  domination  of  the  pontificate, 
the  latter  seems  to  have  at  once  claimed  Egbert  as  its 
vassal  ;  but  there  are  no  evidences — at  least  not  of  that 
period — that  the  latter  conceded  this  claim.  The  slender 
remains  of  Egbert's  coinage  system  throw  no  certain 
light   upon    the   question.       The    only  coin   of    his   reign 

^  For  examples  of  Rome-scat,  see  Ruding,  ii,  pp.  205,  21^B|2,  218, 
230,  366,  etc.  ^^ 

•  Xot  Egbert,  or  Egf  rid,  son  of  Offa,  who  died  in  796. 


extant  is  the  silver  penny  of  fifteen  grains  fine.  The 
mutilated  texts  of  the  period  mention  a  shilling  of  iive- 
pence  and  a  pound  of  sixty  shillings^  both  of  which  may 
be  anachronical,  and  supplied  by  the  copyists  of  the 
extant  MS.  If  the  shilling  was  an  actual  coin,  it  was 
probably  the  old  ora  of  12|,  worn  down  to  11^,  grains 
fine.  At  fivepence  to  the  shilling,  this  would  give  the 
Arabian  ratio  of  6^  for  1 — a  result  that  would  hardly  tally 
with  the  Christian  attitude  ascribed  to  Egbert,  for  no 
Christian  prince,  except  the  Basileus,  could  lawfully  coin 
gold,  aud  he  only  coined  it  at  1  for  12  silver. 

Following  Offa  on  the  Mercian  throne  were  Egbert,  his 
son  (heterodox,  died  suddenly,  796),  Coenwlf,  or  Kenulph 
(706-18),  Kenelm,  Coelwlf,  Beornwlf,  Ludica,  Wiglaf 
(interned),  Berthwlf,  Bui'gred  (interned),  and  Coelwlf, 
the  last  of  the  line.  The  church  had  employed  excom- 
munication, female  influence,  monastic  internments,  and 
,  other  resources  to  reduce  the  Mercian  and  Northumbrian 
princes  to  submission,  but  without  definite  success.  The 
Danish  invasion  served  its  ends  better.  London  was 
taken  in  851,  York  fell  in  867,  Guthrum,  the  East  Angli- 
can, was  baptised  in  878,^  and  both  Mercia  and  stubborn 
Northumberland  were  at  length  brought  beneath  the 
dominion  of  Rome.  From  831,  when  the  seven  kingdoms 
of  England  were  merged  into  the  three  kingdoms  of 
Wessex,  Mercia,  and  Northumberland,  until  the  date  of 
the  Alfred-Guthrum  Treaty  of  878,  the  intrigues  of  the 
pontificate  and  the  military  operations  of  the  Danes  were 
incessant.  Gotfried,  king  of  Denmark,  having  been 
poisoned  in  819  and  Harold  installed  in  his  place,  the 
latter  was  baptised  at  the  court  of  the  conqueror,  Louis 
le  Debonnaire.  Ridding  himself  of  Regenfroy,  his  pagan 
rival  for  the  throne,  Harold  made  preparations   to  con- 

^  There  are  reasons  for  believing  that  Guthrum  was  a  Christian  before 
this  time.  In  875  he  succeeded  in  dividing  the  Anglo-Danish  army,  of 
which  a  portion,  under  Halfdane,  took  possession  of  Northumberland 
and  applied  themselves  to  agriculture. 


tinue  on  a  large  scale  the  war  against  tlie  English  king- 
doms, which  had  been  inaugurated  a  quarter  of  a  century 
previously  by  Ragnar  Lodbrok,  under  king  Sigurd  Snogoje. 
This  circumstance,  together  with  the  suddenness  of 
Harold's  conversion,  and  the  fact  that  his  expedition  was 
mysteriously  directed  from  the  south  of  England  against 
the  not  yet  converted  kingdoms  o£  the  north,  warrants  the 
suspicion  that  papal  intrigue  was  at  the  bottom  of  the 
entire  project. 

In  832  the  Danish  forces  landed  on  the  isle  of  Sheppey  ; 
in  the  following  year  they  overran  the  coasts  of  Dorset, 
and  in  835  those  of  Cornwall.  At  this  juncture  died 
Egbert  of  Wessex,  yielding  the  crown  to  his  son,  Ethel- 
wolf,  at  that  period  a  subdeacon  of  the  cathedral  at 
Winchester.  In  844,  at  the  Council  of  Winchester,  upon 
the  instigation  of  the  bishop  of  Sherborn  and  the  bishop 
of  Wilton,  and  perhaps  also  influenced  by  the  menaces  of 
the  Danish  commander,  Ethelwolf,  as  king  of  the  West 
Saxons,  made  a  donation  to  the  church,  by  which  he 
granted  to  it  "  the  tenth  part  of  the  lands  throughout 
our  kingdom  in  perpetual  liberty,  that  so  such  donation 
may  remain  unchangeable  and  freed  from  all  royal  ser- 
vice and  from  the  service  of  all  secular  claims."-^  This 
embraced  the  Three  Necessities — building  bridges,  forti- 
fying and  defending  castles,  and  performing  military 
service.  So  soon  as  this  grant  was  duly  executed  the 
Danish  forces  disappeared. 

A  few  years  after  this  happy  relief — that  is  to  say,  in 
854 — Ethelwolf  went  to  Rome,  where  he  did  homage  to 
the  pope,  and  presented  him  with  a  crown  of  pure  gold 
weighing  four  pounds,  a  sword  adorned  with  pure  gold, 
two  golden  images,  two  golden  vessels,  a  service  of  plate, 
and  a  donation  of  gold  to  the  clergy  and  of  silver  to  the 
people  of  Rome.  On  his  return  from  this  pilgrimage,  he 
married  Judith,  the  daughter  of  Charles  the  Bald,  of 
Prance.  In  the  following  year  (855)  the  bishop  of  Sher- 
'  "  Anglia  Sacra,"  i,  p.  200. 


boru  played  Ethelbald,  one  of  the  king's  sous,  against 
the  father,  and  won  from  the  latter  another  donation  to 
the  church,  which  donation  was  to  last — to  quote  its  own 
terms — "as  long  as  the  Christian  faith  shall  flourish  in 
the  English  nation." 

Bearing  in  mind  the  fact  that  a  ratio  of  12  for  1  duriug 
this  period  was  always  a  mark  of  Roman  government,  an 
attentive  examiuation  of  the  table  of  ratios  in  a  previous 
chapter  will  afford  a  tolerably  correct  indication  of  the 
dates  when  Roman  domination  was  thoroughly  re-esta- 
blished in  the  various  provinces  or  kingdoms  of  Britain. 
However,  the  new  domination,  though  practically  the 
same,  was  not  altogether  identical  with  the  ancient  one  : 
its  appearance  was  changed^  as  though  vieAved  through  a 
defective  glass.  The  ancient  domination  of  Rome,  so  far 
as  Britain  is  concerned^  was  in  great  measure  a  military 
one  ;  the  re-established  domination  was  practically  an 
ecclesiastical  one.  Both  brought  in  their  train  the  benefits 
of  the  ancient  Roman  civilisation  and  the  ancient  arts. 
This  civilisation  during-  its  banishment  had  borrowed 
something,  both  from  the  anti-hierarchical  spirit  of  the 
Norsemen  and  the  scientific  spirit  of  the  Arabians.  It 
bore  a  new  aspect  ;  it  lacked  the  refinement  of  the  old 
imperial  civilisation,  but  it  was  fresher,  healthier,  and 
stronger.  To  the  student  and  philosopher  who  contem- 
plates the  mediaeval  ages,  the  civilisation  that  accompanied 
Christian  government  must  have  appeared  like  the  face  of 
a  friend  whom  ill-health  had  banished  to  remote  climes, 
but  who  had  returned  after  a  long  absence — his  frame  the 
same,  his  features  bronzed,  his  gestures  coarse,  but  his 
step  vigorous,  and  his  eye  animated  with  a  new  and 
hopeful  vitality.  Such  seems  to  have  been  the  character 
of  that  Roman  civilisation  which,  cleansed  in  the  fire  of 
Christianity,  had  returned  to  regain  its  wonted  influence 
upon  the  Western  world. 

Resuming  our  consideration  of  the  heptarchical  mone- 
tary systems,  the  appearance  of  the  extant  coins  and  the 


study  of  the  valuations  accorded  to  them  in  the  texts,  make 
it  evident  that   Burgred   struck  silver  coins   of  15  grains 
fine,  which  were  valued  by  Christians  at  one  penny  each, 
with  five  pennies  to  the  shilling.      This  gives  a  ratio  of  6. 
silver  for   1    gold,  but    owing    to   the  varying  weights   of 
Burgred's  coins,  the  ratio  was  in  fact  more   commonly  6{ 
to  7^  for  1.^      In  874,  after  Burgred  was  driven  from  his 
throne  by  the  Danes,  he  repaired  to  Rome,  where  he  was 
quietly    interned   in    the    convent    of    St.    Mary's,^  from 
which,  it    is  perhaps  needless  to   say,  he   never   emerged; 
alive.      We    next    turn    to    Guthrum,     several    of   whose; 
money ers  (like  those    of    Offa   and  other  Gothic  kings  of; 
England)    were    Arabian.      It   does    not   appear    whether 
these  officers  were  retained  or  not  after  Guthrura's  public  i 
avowal  of  Christianity.      If  his  monetary  system  accorded 
with  the  valuations  in  his  treaty  with  Alfred,  it  embraced 
the  Saxon  gull-skilling    (now   reduced   to    10  grains),  the 
Arabian  gold   mancus  of   60  grains   as   the   equivalent  of 
30  silver  pennies  (each  of  15  grains),  and  the  mark  of  gold 
(a  money  of  account)  as  the  equivalent   of  30  Saxon  shil- 
lings.     The  ratio  was  7|  for  1.^ 

'  In  Schmid's  "  Gesetze  der  Angelsachsen  "  the  scale  of  monetary 
equivalents  relating  to  this  period  is  confused  and  defective.  \  Compar- 
ing the  anachronical  money  "  pound "  of  sixty  shillings,  mentioned  in 
the  tests  of  Egbeii's  reign,  with  the  contemporaneous  money  mark  of 
thirty  shillings,  mentioned  in  those  of  Guthrum's  reign,  he  deduces  a 
money  pound  of  two  money  marks.  Whereas,  in  point  of  fact,  when- 
ever the  mark  and  pound  were  contemporaneous  and  belonged  to  the 
same  system,  whether  they  were  moneys  of  account  or  weights,  the 
former  was  two-thirds  of  the  latter. 

2  Henry,  ii,  p.  71. 

^  An  eminent  English  numismatist  says  of  this  period  that  the 
mancus  was  "  one-thirtieth  of  the  pound,  or  thirty  pence."  The  mancus 
was,  indeed,  thirty  pence,  but  there  was  no  pound,  and  if  there  had 
been,  it  would  not  have  been  valued  at  30,  but  at  7i  mancusses.  The 
equivalent  in  silver  coins  was  not  900,  as  our  authority  would  argue,  but 
225  pence. 


Table  of  supposed  moneys  of  Guthrum,  afterwards  Athelstan  II. 

Contents,  or  value,  in  fine  metal. 

Moneys.                                Gold,  gr.  Silver,  gr. 

Penny,  silver  coin        ....         2  .  15 

Saxon  shilling,  or  ora,  gold  coin           .       10  .  75 

Quarter-mancns,  gold  coin  .         .         .15  .  112^ 

Mancus,  gold  coin        .         .         .         .       60  .  450 

!              Mark,  money  of  account      .         .         .     300  .  2,250 

i  .    The   monetary  systems  of  Alfred   of  Wessex  exhibit  a 
[curious  mingling   of  Arabian,  Gothic,  and   Roman    influ- 
'  ences.      The   standard    of    fineness   and  the    old   mancus 
coin  were  Arabian^  the  ora  was  Saxon,  the  £.  s,  d.  system 
and  the  ratio  of  12   silver  to   1  gold,  in  his  third  system, 
was  Roman.      It  will  be  remembered  that  after  the  im- 
mense benefice  which  Ethelwolf  granted  to  the  church  of 
Rome,  the  Danes  disappeared  from  Wessex.      This  man- 
oeuvre appears  to  have  occasioned   some  dissatisfaction  in 
'Denmark,  for  we  hear  no  more  of  Harold   the  Christian, 
who,  in  850,  was  succeeded  by  Eric  the  pagan.      Under 
this  monarch  preparations  were  made  to  conquer  England 
for  the  Danes,  and  in  851  a  fleet  of  350  vessels  landed  an 
army  on  the  Isle  of  Sheppey,  which  soon  afterwards  cap- 
.tured  and  plundered  Canterbury  and  London.      In  853  the 
.Danes  invaded  Mercia,  and  upon  the  accession  of  Eric  II, 
I  (pagan)  in  854,  they  landed  an  expedition  on  the  northern 
'coast  of   Britain.      In  858  Ethelwolf  died,  and  Ethelbald, 
his   eldest   son,  married  Judith,   his   step-mother.      This, 
and  some  other  scandalous  acts  of  the  new  prince,  seem 
to    have   rendered   the   English  nobles  indifferent  to  the 
progress  of  the  Danes,  who  (in  867)  took  York,  and  thus 
gained  control  of  Northumbria.      Two  years  afterwards  the 
jconquerors  occupied   the   county  of   Fife,  in   Scotland ;  in. 
|871    they   defeated     the    Anglo-Saxons    at    Merton,    in. 
[Surrey ;    in   875  they  divided  into  two  armies,  led  seve- 
rally by   Guthrum   and    Halfdane    the    Black;    in   876-7, 
although  previously  repulsed  at  sea,  they  invaded  Alfred's 
.dominions  by  land,   and  before  they  were  checked  took 



Wareham,  Exeter,  and  Chippenliam.  In  878  Guthruni 
publicly  accepted  baptism,  and  made  a  treaty  witli  Alfred, 
by  which  Britain  was  virtually  divided  between  these 
princes.  In  885  Alfred  turned  the  River  Lea,  where  a 
number  of  pagan  Danish  war-ships  were  lying,  and  com- 
pelled their  abandonment.  In  the  following  year  he 
occupied,  rebuilt,  and  strengthened  London.  In  893  the 
famous  viking,  Hastings,  with  300  ships,  one  of  which  was 
commanded  by  Rolla,  seized  Appledore  and  Melton-on- 
Thames.  In  894  Alfred  defeated  Hastings'  forces  at 
Farnham,  and  captured  that  leader's  wife  and  children. 
In  897  the  pagan  Danes  were  defeated  at  sea,  near  the 
Isle  of  Wight,  and  although  their  forces  afterwards 
roamed  through  Mercia,  and  even  invaded  Wales,  they 
gave  for  a  time  a  wide  berth  to  Alfred's  dominions,  and 
made  no  substantial  progress  in  their  conquest  of  England. 
However,  a  very  considerable  portion  of  the  island 
was  already  in  their  hands,  and,  evident  as  was  Alfred's 
desire  to  submit  his  kingdom  in  all  respects  to  the  ordi- 
nances of  Rome,  it  can  hardly  be  supposed  that,  so  far  as 
his  monetary  S3'stem  is  concerned,  he  could  bring  this  at 
once  into  harmony  with  the  Roman  system,  while  the  very 
different  system  of  the  Danes  was  employed  so  close  to 
his  frontiers. 

In  arranging  the  coins  of  Alfred,  Mr.  Hawkins  says 
that  "  they  seem  to  fall  into  four  principal  divisions, 
struck,  apparently,  at  different  periods  of  his  reign."  ^ 
This  opinion  is  corroborated  by  a  study  of  the  tale  rela- 
tions of  his  different  moneys,  which  cannot  be  harmonised 
without  admitting  at  least  three  different  coinage  systems. 
The  Arabian  mancus  was  certainly  in  use,  or  else  its  value 
was  well  understood,  down  to  a  certain  period  of  Alfred's 
reign,  for  the  king  himself,  writing  of  his  translation  of 
the  pastoral  of  Gregory,  says  :  "  I  sent  a  copy  to  every 
iDishop's  seat  in  my  kingdom,  with  an    aestel,   or  handle, 

1  "  Silver  Coins  of  England,"  2nd  edition,  p.  121. 



wortli  50  maucusses.'^  ^  The  Guthrum  Treaty  and  the 
writings  of  ^Ifric  the  Grammarian  both  testify  that  the 
mancus  at  this  period  was  valued  at  thirty  pence.  Dr. 
Ending  has  deduced  a  silver  mancus  of  about  the  year 
838,  but  no  silver  mancus  has  been  found,  and  its  exis- 
tence is  doubtful.  A  silver  coin,  possibly  a  two-shilling 
piece  of  this  reign,  is  mentioned  farther  on." 

Of  the  silver  scats  or  pennies  of  this  reign  there  are 
two  sorts  extant — one  containing  19  to  20  grains,  the 
other  about  15  grains,  of  fine  silver.  The  Alfred- 
Gathrum  Treaty  values  the  mark  of  account  at  thirty 
shillings  ;  ^rElfric  the  Grammarian  valued  the  shilling  at 
five  pence.  In  another  text^  he  says  *' they  are  twelve 
shillings  of  twelve  pennies. '^  These  last  are  regarded  as 
coins  and  valuations  which  belonged  to  Alfred's  third 
system.  Bearing  in  mind  Mr,  Hawkins'  opinion  that  the 
light  pennies  of  Alfred  were  of  his  first  coinage,  his  first 
monetary  system,  about  874—8  appears  to  have  been  pre- 
cisely the  same  as  that  supposed  above  of  Guthrum.  The 
contents  of  60  grains  fine,  accorded  to  the  mancus,  is  a 
measure  derived  from  the  contemporary  dinars  of  Abd- 
el-Raman  II,  of  Cordova.*  There  is  a  silver  coin  of 
Alfred,  now  in  the  British  Museum,  yf  of  an  inch  in 
diameter,  and  weighing  162  grains  gross,  presumably 
containing-  about  150o;rains  fine — a  measure  which  would 
exactly  answer    for    that   of    a    two-shilling  piece   in  this 

'  Spelman,  in  Heniy,  vol.  ii,  p.  58. 

-  Both  the  mark  and  the  ora  are  mentioned  in  the  Edward-Guthrum 
Treaty  of  between  901-24  (Ending,  i,  p.  314).  Keary  says  that  the  ora 
is  first  mentioned  in  Guthrum's  Laws,  vii,  and  is  there  valued  at  2^ 
shillings.  In  the  earliest  Anglo-Saxon  coinages  and  valuations,  the  ora 
'.  and  shilling,  both  gold  coins,  were  of  like  weight  and  value.  The  shilling 
afterwards  lost  weight.  The  difference  in  the  value  of  the  ora  probably 
arose  when  the  shilling,  no  longer  made  of  gold,  was  represented  by  a 
sum  of  silver  pennies,  the  ora  of  gold  still  survi\'ing  and  the  ratio  being 
changed  to  12. 

^  His  translation  of  Exodus  xxi,  10. 

■•  The  dinars  of  Al-Mostain-Billah  were  of  the  same  weight. 


system.  Humplireys  and  Hawkins  regard  it  "  more  in  the 
light  of  a  medal  than  of  a  coin  " — a  convenient  if  not  a 
convincing  method  of  avoiding  a  practical  contradiction 
of  their  theory  of  the  ratio^  the  ratio  being  the  significant 
and  political  feature  of  the  Avhole  matter. 

Alfred's  Second  System. — This  may  be  conveniently 
dated  about  the  year  878.  The  principal  features  were 
the  coinage  of  sterlings,  containing  about  20  grains  fine 
silver,  and  an  enhanced  valuation  of  the  foreign  gold 
coins,  in  such  sterlings.  The  Arabian  mancus  of  60  grains 
fine  was  still  valued  at  30  standard  silver  pennies,  but  as 
the  latter  were  5  grains  heavier  than  the  previous  penny, 
this  valuation  makes  a  ratio  between  silver  and  o^old  of 
10  for  1.  The  mark  (money  of  account)  of  5  mancuses 
was  valued  at  150  standard  silver  pennies.^  The  shilling 
was  represented  by  5  sterling  pennies.  If  the  "  pound  " 
was  in  use  it  consisted  of  45  shillings,  or  225  pence. 

Alfred's  TJiird  System. — This  must  be  dated  some  time 
between  878  and  901.  Its  principal  features  were  the 
adoption  of  the  modified  Eoman  system  of  5  x  48  =  240 
pence  to  the  pound  of  account,  and  the  definite  relin- 
quishment of  gold  coinage.  This  meant  the  eventual 
acceptance  of  the  Byzantine  gold  coins  and  ratio  of  12. 
By  this  time  all  gold  coins,  except  old  and  greatly  worn 
mancuses,  had  probably  disappeared  from  circulation. 
Assuming  that  these  mancuses  (really  zecchins)  contained 
about  50  grains  fine  gold,  the  ratio  was  now  12,  as 
follows  : — 5  standard  pence  =  1  shilling  of  account ;  6  shil- 
lings of  account  =  1  mancus  or  zecchin  ;  hence  600  grains 
of  coined  silver  equalled  in  value  50  grains  of  coined 
gold,  or  12  for  1. 

^  During  the  mediaeval  ages,  the  English  mark  of  account  is  valued 
variously  at  80,  100,  150,  or  160  actual  scats  or  pennies.  It  would  seem 
that  the  mark  of  account  was  always  two-thirds  of  the  pound  of  account ; 
it  was  also,  from  the  analogy  of  weights,  counted  as  eight  oras  of 
account,  and  from  this  it  was  also,  though  erroneously,  reckoned  at 
eight  times  the  value  of  the  gold  coin  era.  The  ora  of  2§  shillings  has 
been  mentioned  in  the  text. 


In  tlie  earlier  portion  of  the  reign  of  Athelstan  III/ 
Christian  king  of  AVessex  (925-41)  the  Byzantine  shilling 
was  valued  at  5  silver  pence,  in  the  latter  portion  it  was 
altered  to  4  pence."  This  involved  an  alteration  in  the 
value  of  the  Gothic  thrimsa,  which  before  was  2.V,  and 
was  now  rated  at  3  scats.  It  also  involved  a  change 
from  5  X  48  =  240  to  4  x  60  =  240  pence  to  the  £., 
while  the  mark  of  account  was  valued  at  160,  instead  of 
150  pence  as  before.'^  There  can  be  little  doubt  that  this 
adjustment  was  made  by  Athelstan.  At  this  period  the 
terms  ''  mark  "  and  "  pound  of  account  "  were  chiefly 
employed  in  the  valuation  of  "  retts,"  taxes,  and  fines,  all 
of  which  went  to  the  king.  The  adjustment,  therefore, 
was  in  favour  of  the  crown.  The  ordinary  transactions  of 
trade  were  conducted  in  pennies,  or  scats  and  stycas,  and 
these  were  not  affected  by  the  changes  mentioned. 
Guthrum  had  been  the  first  English  prince  to  assume  on 
his  coins  the  pretentious  title  of  "  King  of  England.-" 
Athelstan  III.  improved  on  this  style  by  stamping  his 
coins  "  Rex  toticus  Britanniee."  It  was  after  the  battle  of 
Brunanburg,  when,  flushed  with  triumph  and  backed  by  an 
overwhelming  display  of  power,  that  he  was  most  likely 
to  have  adopted  this  measure.  In  one  of  his  edicts 
Athelstan  orders  that  no  coins  except  those  struck  or 
authorised  by  himself  shall  pass  current  in  England,  that 
none  shall  be  struck  except  within  the  precincts  of  a  town, 
and  that  no  names,  titles,  nor  effigies  shall  be  placed  upon 
the  coins  except  those  of  himself.  It  is  evident  that  coins 
were  being  struck  by  rival  princes  independent  of  his 
authority,  and  that  the  object  of  his  edicts  was  to  prevent 

^  There  were  three  Athelstans  or  ^Ethelstans.  The  first  was  a  son 
of  Ethelwolf  by  his  first  wife.  His  father  made  him  king  of  Kent, 
Sussex,  and  Essex,  in  the  year  836  (Henry,  ii,  p.  65).  The  second  was 
the  converted  Guthrum.  The  third  was  the  son  of  Edward  the  Eldei", 
and  the  victor  at  Brunanburg. 

2  Hawkins,  pp.  268,  269. 

^  rieetwood,  p.  23. 


tbe  chieftains  whom   lie  claimed  as  vassals  from  striking 
coins  in  the  name  of  such  rival  princes. 

Because  tbe  extant  texts  of  the  period  mention  but  few 
alterations  in  tbe  value  of  coins  and  moneys  of  account^ 
we  are  not  at  liberty  to  assume  that  no  others  occurred. 
On  the  contrary,  from  tbe  appearance  of  the  various 
coins,  it  is  probable  that  many  cbanges  occurred,  tbe 
only  uncertainty  about  the  matter  being  the  precise  date 
and  manner  of  their  occurrence.  The  weight  of  the 
penny,  tbe  proportion  of  alloy  in  this  and  other  coins, 
the  composition  of  the  scat,  tbe  relation  between  penny 
and  scat,  the  number  of  pennies  and  scats  to  the  shil- 
ling, the  number  of  scats  to  tbe  mark,  or  pennies  to 
the  pound  of  account,  and  tbe  ratio  of  value  between 
silver  and  gold  in  tbe  coins,  were  all  altered.  The 
kings  of  tbe  heptarchy  were  no  less  ready  to  exercise 
the  prerogative  of  "coining  moneys  and  regulating  the  value 
thereof  "  than  were  the  Romans  before  or  the  Normans 
after  them.  There  Avere  but  few  princes,  from  Offa  to 
William  I,  who  hesitated  to  avail  themselves  of  some  form 
of  this  financial  resource. 

A  later  monetary  scale  of  Athelstan  shows  a  further 
intrusion  of  the  Roman  system  into  the  moneys  of 
Northumbria  and  Mercia.  It  consisted  of  Roman  £.  s.  d. 
in  the  numerical  proportions  of  4x60  =  240  pence  to  the 
£.,  and  of  the  following  Gothic  coins  and  moneys  of 
account  : — 8  stycas  =  lscat;  3  scats=  1  thrimsa  ;  7  thrimsas 
=  1  ora  ;  8  oras  =  lmark;  1^  uiarks  =  £l.  The  foregoing 
two  classes  of  moneys  were  united  by  tbe  following  scale  of 
equivalents: — 4^ scats  =  4 pennies, or  1  shilling;  160pennies  - 
=  1  mark.  Hence,  250  (exact!}'  252)  Gothic  scats,  or 
240  Christian  pennies=l  "  pound  ^^  of  account.  Hence 
also,  20  pennies  to  tbe  ora,  "  Denar  qui  sunt  XX  in  ora,^' 
as  mentioned  in  Domesday  Book,  vol.  i,  fol.  i.  The 
styca  of  this  reign  was  a  small  brass  coin,  the  scat  a  small 
lumpish  silver  coin  containing  about  17  grains  fine,  the 
penny  contained  about  18  grains  fine,  or  22  grains  alloyed, 


the  sterling-,  or  lialf-dirhem,  was  slightly  heavier  than  the 
i  penny.      The   ratio   of  fine   silver  to  gold  in   the  coins  of 
Athelstan  was  12  for  1.^ 

During  the  reign  of  Edmund  I,  king  of  Wessex  (941—46) , 
;  the  silver  pennies  contained  from  16^  to  22^  grains  fine." 
We  are  aware  of  no  alterations  in  the  valuation  of  money 
during  the  reign  of  Edred,  king  of  Wessex.      The  reign 
of  Edgai',  king  of  Wessex,  is  marked  by  the   issuance  of 
,  leather  moneys  and  an  effort  to  unitise  the  numerous  and 
I  heterogeneous  coinages  of  England — an  effort  which  proved 
futile.      The    sterlings   of   this   prince   contain    18   to   20 
:  grains   of  fine  silver,  but  we  do  not  know  at  what  valua- 
I  tions   they  passed.      Many  of  these  coins  were  surreptiti- 
ously reduced   by  clippers    to    half   their   weight.      After 
executing  a  batch   of  these  criminals,  a  new  coinage  was 
ordered,  and   it    was   probably  to   fill  the  void  thus  tem- 
porarily created  in  the  circulation  that  the  leather  moneys 
were  issued. 

'  The  mark  of  silver  was  reduced  to  two  gold  mancuses,  whereas  pre- 
viously  it  was  worth  five.  This  was  mainly  due  to  the  rejection  of  the 
Arabian  and  adoption  of  the  Byzantine  valuation  of  gold,  an  act  which 
lowered  the  value  of  silver  to  a  moiety. 

-  Ending,  i,  p.  292. 


them  weighed  19  lbs.  6  oz.  5  dwts.  This  is  an  average  of 
22  grains  each^  or  (assuming  the  fineness  as  equal  to- 
sterling)  20^  grains  fine;  but  as  he  says  nothing  of  the 
remaining  573  pieces  found  at  Tealby,  it  may  be  that  the- 
average  of  the  whole  corresponded  with  Keary's  assays. 

With  regard  to  tin  money  of  the  nobles,  mention  of 
albata,  or  white  money  {argentnm  hlancum)  occurs  in  the 
Exchequer  Eolls  pertaining  to  the  fourth  year  of  this 
reign,  where  it  is  expressly  distinguished  from  silver- 
money  [argenti).  In  the  fifteenth  year  Walter  Hose  paid 
one  shilling  in  the  pound  for  the  bianco  firmse  of 
Treatham  ;  in  the  seventeenth  year  twenty  shillings  wei^e- 
paid  in  argento  bianco  j  in  the  twenty-third  year  Walter- 
de  Grimesby  forfeited  a  lot  of  the  same  metal  ;  in  the- 
twenty- sixth  year  the  sheriffs  of  London  and  Middlesex 
paid  in,  from  the  effects  of  a  coin  clipper,  £9  55.  4c?.  in 
silver  pennies  and  iive  mai'ks  in  ''  white  money."  In. 
order  to  deteimine  the  meaning  of  "  white  money,"  it  is 
to  be  remarked  that  the  term  "  argento  bianco  examinato  " 
was  used  when  silver  bullion  was  meant.  For  example,, 
in  the  thirtieth  year  of  Henry  II,  the  sheriff  of  Devonshire 
paid  8s.  9cl.  in  bullion  {argento  bianco  examinato) ,  made  up- 
of  divers  old  coins,  and  in  the  thirtj^-third  year  the  same 
sheriff  paid  twenty-six  pennies  in  bullion  {argento  bianco- 
examinato) ,  made  up  of  numerous  coins  dug  up  from  the 
earth.  Sir  Charles  Freemantle  was  of  opinion  that  the 
trial  of  the  pix  mentioned  in  the  Lansdowne  MS.  related  to- 
this  reign. ^  In  this  opinion  the  author  finds  himself  unable 
to  concui',  but  believes  that  it  relates  to  the  reign  of' 
Edward  I.  Some  consideration  of  this  subject  will  appear 
further  on. 

Turning  from  the  monetary  system  of  Henry  to  that  of 
his  successor,  we  find  it  marked  by  the  same  characteristics- 
— a  full  legal-tender  gold  coinage  issued  by  the  Basileus, 
and  constituting  the  basis  of  the  system  ;  a  silver  coinage 
(pennies)  issued  by  the  king,  as  nearly  as  practicable  of 
•   Bi-itish  Mint  Eeport,  1871,  p.  12. 


even  weight  with  and  exactly  one-twelfth  the  value  of 
the  Byzantine  sicilicus  ;  and  a  base  coinage  of  local  circu- 
lation, issued  by  the  nobles  and  ecclesiastics,  the  gold 
coinage  being  never,  the  silver  coinage  rarely,  and  the 
base  coinage  frequently,  altered. 

Although  there  are  no  native  coins  extant  of  Richard  I, 
the  evidences  that  he  exercised  the  usual  coinage  rights 
of  provincial  kings  are  so  numerous  as  to  leave  little 
room  to  doubt  the  fact.  In  1189,  upon  his  accession  to 
the  throne,  Eichard  weighed  out  more  than  100,000  marks 
from  his  father's  treasure  at  Salisbury  ;  in  an  ordinance 
of  the  same  year  moneyers  at  Winchester  are  mentioned  ; 
in  the  same  year  he  granted  a  local  coinage-license  to 
the  bishop  of  Lichfield;  in  1190,  while  at  Messina  on  a 
crusading  expedition,  he  found  it  necessary  to  command 
and  exhort  his  followers  to  accept  his  money — a  tolerably 
sure  indication  of  coinage;  and  in  1191,  Henry  de  Corn- 
hill  was  charged  in  the  exchequer  accounts  with  £1,200 
for  supplying  the  cambium,  or  mints  of  England  (except 
Winchester),  and  with  £400  the  profits  of  the  cambium 
for  a  year.  The  names  of  Richard's  moneyers  in  his 
mints  at  Warwick,  Rochester,  and  Carlisle  appear  in 
several  texts  relating  to  his  reign.  Coins  which  were 
struck  in  Poitou  4feider  his  authority  are  still  extant. 
Finally,  as  will  presently  appear  evident,  he  granted  and 
revoked  licenses  to  nobles  and  ecclesiastics  to  strike  tin 
and  other  base  coins.  All  these  prerogatives  were  such 
as  were  common  to  provincial  kings  ;  but^Richard  struck 
no  gold,  and  made  no  attempt  either  to  interdict  the 
circulation  of  the  Imperial  coins  or  to  alter  the  sacred 
valuation  of  gold  and  silver  which  was  laid  down  in  the 
constitution  of  the  Empire. 

With  regard  to  his  ransom,  the  inference  of  new  coinage 
is  totally  wanting.  In  1192  Richard  was  taken  prisoner 
on  the  continent,  and  handed  over  to  Henry  YI,  of  Ger- 
many. In  1194  he  was  ransomed  for  about  the  same 
amount  of  money  that  he  is  said  to  have  inherited  from 


pence  went  to  the  zeccliin.^  Eegarding  the  penny  aa 
containing  18|  grains  and  the  zecchin  51^  grains,  this 
would  imply  a  ratio  of  lOf  for  1. 

There   is   little   room   to   doubt   that    the    middle    term 
shilling  was  changed  from  forty-eight  to  sixty,  and  after- 
wards to  twenty,  to  the  pound  of  account.      The  first  pro- 
portion rests  upon  the  authority  of  Fleetwood  (p.  23)  and 
Anderson  (i, p.  98), and  the  third  upon  yElfric  GrammaticuSj 
the    translation    of   Exodus   xxi,    10,   and  the   "  Historia 
Eliensis."      Both  Guerard   and  De  Vienne  testify  to   thej 
same  practice  at  the   same   period   in   France.      Shifting 
the  middle  term  affords  the  best  proof  that  the  ora  wasi 
now   too   valuable    to   pass,  for   a   shilling,   and   that  thai 
latter   was   merely  a  money  of   account,  payable  in  silver 

Canute,  the  Christian  but  anti-papal  king  of  Denmark 
and  England,  has  left  us  a  greater  variety  of  coin-types- 
than    any  other    English    prince   before   the    Plantagenet 
dynasty.      His  Gothic  coins  and  valuations  were  8  scats  = 
1  ora  ;  3  oras  =  l  mancus  ;  5  mancuses  =  l  mark  of  account. 
His   Christian  coins  were  valued   in  £.  s.  d.  on  the  scale 
of  5  X  48  =  240  pence  to  the  £."      The  pence  vary  in  weight 
from    12    to    18,  and  the  scats  from  20  to  24  grains  each, 
and  are  all  about  eleven-twelfths  fine,  the  lighter  weights,! 
or  the  pennies,  greatly  predominating.     The  intervaluation  j 
between  the  two  systems  was  80  silver  pence,  each  of  16 1 
grains  fine,  equal  to  1  "  mancus,^'  really  a  zecchin,  of   50'i 
to  54  grains,  bespeaking  a  ratio  of  about  9  for  1.     How- 
ever, his  Danish  coinages  render  this  ratio  uncertain. 

The  accession  of  Edward  Confessor  marks  the  decline 
of  Danish  power  and  influence  in  England — an  event  long 
celebrated   by   the   Catholic   portion   of  the  population  in 
the  religious  festival  of   Hokeday.      This  prince's  friend-' 
ship   for   Normandy  and   his  fealty  to   Rome   manifested,! 

'  ^Ifric  the  Grammarian. 
^  "Chron.  Preciosum,"  p.  23. 


itself  in  the  appointment   of  Xonnan   favourites  to  office, 
in  the  quarrel  with  Godwin,  the  incarceration  of  Edgitha, 
the    welcome    which    he    accorded    to    William    of   Nor- 
mandy, and    his    removal   of    Godwin's   hostages  (his  son 
Ulnoth  and  grand-nephew   Haguin)    to    William's  court. 
Although  the  quarrel  with    Godwin   w^as   patched   up,  the 
■  hostages  remained  in  Normandy.      After  Godwin's  death 
.  (in  1053),  when    his    son    Harold,    now   the    head   of  the 
.  family,  sought   to  recover  these  hostaijes,  he  was  refused 
1  by  William.      Upon    the   death  of   Edward    (in   January, 
1066),  Harold    usurped    the    throne,   and    until    the   fatal 
battle  of  Hastings  reigned  for  a  brief  period  as  Harold  II. 
The     following     scale     of     equivalents     will    illustrate 
I  Edward's  system    of    moneys: — Five  light  silver  pennies 
containing   variously    from     12 1    to     18^    grains   fine  =  1 
.shilling,    and    48     shillings    equal  1   pound   of    account; 
rfour  heavy  silver  pence  (scats),  containing  from  20  to  25, 
ibut  for  the  most  part  about  20,  grains   fine  =  1    shilling  ; 
and  60  shillings  =  1  pound   of  account.      The  shilling  of 
four  pence  appears  to  have  survived  that  of  five  pence. 
Thus    there  were     successively    two    classes    of     pounds, 
shillings,    and    pence,    and    it    is    not    improbable    that 
there  Avere     three,  the    third    consisting    of    the   factors 
:  12  X  20  =  240  pence  to  the  £.,  and  based  on  a  degraded 
; penny  containing  about  8|   grains   fine  silver.      Edward's 
coins    were    of    uneven    and    oft-changed    weights,    and 
owing  to    the   disturbed    state   of   the   government,   they 
were  also   of   uncertain  and   fluctuating  value.      The  gold 
besant  of   Constantinople  was  in  circulation,  and,  accord- 
ing  to   Dr.  Henry,  was  valued  at  eight   shillings,  each  of 
five  silver   pence.      During   another  portion  of   Edward's 
reign   the   besant  was  valued  at  nine  shillings.^ 

There  is  some  reason  to  suspect  that  about  this  time 
the  payment  of  Danegeld  by  the  people  to  the  king's 
officers  was  made  in  the  degraded  coins  above  mentioned, 

'  Henry's  "  Hist.  Brit.,"  ii,  p.  275. 


but  the  evidences  are  not  sufficiently  conclusive  to 
entirely  warrant  the  inference.  However,  the  imposition 
of  this  tax  was  abolished  by  Edward,  and  it  was  not 
imposed  again  until  the  reign  of  William  I.  The  Gothic 
moneys  of  Edward  Confessor  were  valued  as  in  Canute^s 
reign.  There  is  too  much  uncertainty  about  the  weights 
and  value  of  coins  in  this  reign  to  make  any  reliable  in- 
ferences concerning  the  relative  valuation  of  gold  and 
silver.  The  gross  weight  of  an  heretical  zecchin  ascribed 
to  this  reign,  as  given  by  Kenyou,  is  54|  grains.  The 
ratio  may  have  been  any  figure  between  7|  and  11  for  1. 
It  was  probably  often  changed.^ 

Harold  II  only  reigned  nine  months,  yet  his  coins  are 
very  numerous,  nearly  one  hundred  varieties  of  moneyers^ 
names  having  been  found  upon  them.  It  is  quite  probable 
that  in  the  confusion  of  the  times  the  chieftains  and  the 
prelates  who  supported  Harold's  pretensions  to  the  crowul 
took  occasion  to  coin  money  for  themselves,  the  profit 
upon  such  coinage  varying  from  a  twelfth  to  a  tenth  of 
the  metal  coined,  sometimes  more.  Harold's  silver 
scats  weigh  about  22  grains,  and  contain  about  20  grains 
of  fine  silver.  There  is  no  reason  to  believe  that  he 
changed  the  previously  existing  system  of  £.  s.  d.,  nor 
that  any  of  the  coins  previously  in  circulation — such  as 
the  Arabian  zecchin,  the  besant  and  its  fractions,  or 
the  Gothic  stycas,  scats,  and  oras — were  decried  or 

^  For  allusions  to  '  mint   laws  of   Edward    Confessor,    see    Kemble, 
pp.  67-9  ;  for  "  Treasure  Trove,"  see  Euding,  i,  p.  390. 





1      Norman,  Anglo-Saxon,  early   Gothic,  Moslem,  Byzantine,  and  other 

;  coins  circulating  in  England — Difference  in  the  silver  value  of  heretical 

and  orthodox  gold  coins — Scats,  sterlings,  and  pennies — Efforts  of  the 

Xorman  princes  to  escape  the  monetary  supervision   of  Eome — Eeceipts 

and  payments  made  in  different  moneys — Counterfeiting — Barter — Per- 

•  mutation — Fairs — Taxes  and  rents    in  kind — Bills  of   exchange — The 

r  monetary  systems  of  the  Noi'man  princes  exhibit  a  strange  condition  of 

political  affairs. 

TPVUEIXG  the  Xorman  dynasty  tlie  coins  in  circulation 
-*-^  consisted  chiefly  of  five  classes^  namely  :  Norman, 
Anglo-Saxon,  early  Gothic,  Byzantine,  and  Moslem. 

Norman  Coins. — These  were  "  sterlings,^^  or  flat,  thin, 
silver  coins  of  the  half-dirhem  type,  containing  about 
20  grains  of  silver  0"925  fine,  or  about  18 1  grains  of 
fine  silver.  In  modern  numismatic  works  these  are 
,  always  called  "  pennies.'^  Xo  less  than  twelve  thousand 
';  of  the  "  pax  "  sterlings  of  William  I.  were  discovered  at 
Beaworth,  in  Hampshire,  in  1833,  besides  other  large 
hoards  elsewhere.  Twelve  of  these  sterlings  went  to  the 
Norman  shilling. 

It  has  been  assumed  by  numismatic  writers  that  the 
sterlings  were  always  valued  at  one  penny  each  ;  but  in 
face  of  a  contrary  practice  in  France  at  this  period,  where 
the  sterling  was  sometimes  rated  at  three  halfpence, 
two  pence,  etc.,  and  of  the  twopenny  sterlings,  and  three- 
penny sterlings  cited  elsewhere  in  the  present  work,  this 
is  by  no  means  certain. 

Anglo-Saxon  Moneys. — The  best  Anglo-Saxon  silver 
sterlings  (scats)  were  valued  at  four  to  the  Saxon  shilling 


of  account,  while  sixty  Saxon  shillings  were  counted  to 
the  pound  of  account.  These  relations  were  not  disturbed 
by  William,  who  continued  -to  employ  them  in  all  pay- 
ments under  the  Anglo-Saxon  laws,  or  in  reference 
to  Anglo-Saxon  rents  and  contracts.  There  were,  there- 
fore, two  moneys  of  account  employed  during  his  reign, 
namely,  the  Norman  12x20  =  240  pence  to  the  pound  of 
account,  and  the  Saxon  4x60  =  240  pence  to  the  pound 
of  account. 

Early  Gothic  Moneys. — The  ora  is  valued  in  Domesday 
Book  at  20  pence,  from  which  it  would  appear  that 
Edward  the  Confessor's  base  pennies  were  meant,  or 
else  that  William's  sterlings  actually  went  for  twopence 
each.  It  has  been  suggested  that  the  ora  here  meant 
was  either  the  ora  weight  of  45  grains  (one-eighth  of  the 
Gothic  mark),  or  else  a  gold  coin  of  about  that  weight, 
say  the  Moorish  obolus  de  Murcia  or  maravedi,^  because 
in  37  Henry  III,  (a.d.  1252),  the  maravedi  of  Moorish 
Spain  was  valued  at  16  pence" — a  fall  in  value  which,  if  it 
related  to  a  weight  of  gold  bullion,  would  be  difficult  to 
account  for,  but  which,  if  to  an  actual  gold  coin, 
might  have  been  due  to  its  having  been  reduced  by  abra- 
sion or  "  rounding."  But,  in  fact,  at  the  period  of 
Domesday  Book,  the  maravedi  was  a  new  coin,  therefore 
we  regard  the  first  hypothesis  as  more  reasonable.  The 
composite  or  electrum  scat  had  disappeared  ;  the  silver 
scat  is  mentioned  under  the  name  of  a  penny.  The  brass 
stycas,  so  common  during  the  Gothic  era,  do  not  appear 
to  have  remained  in  circulation  during  the  Norman  one, 
for  no  mention  is  made  of  them  in  extant  texts.  They 
were  replaced  by  Roman  bronze  coins. 

Moslem   Moneys. — The    Spanish-Arabian    dinar    (60   to 

Q'o   grains  fine)    and  the   zecchin   (50   to   55    grains  fine), 

circulated   in    England   under   the   misnomers   of    besaut 

and    mancus.        Norman    sterlings     of     the    half-dirhem 

'  The  maravedi  of  this  period  weighed  about  43  gi'ains  (nearly)  fine. 
2  Ending,  i,  p.  316.  \ 


or  sterling  type,  and  containing  18  to  20  grains  fine 
silver,  liad  taken  the  place  of  the  half-dirhems  coined 
in  Arabian-Spain.  A^alued  in  these  Norman  sterlings, 
the  dinar  was  worth  o-i  to  36  sterlings,  and  the  zecchin 
30  tool  sterlings — a  ratio  of  9  or  10  for  1.  The  mark  of 
5  zecchins,  afterwards  of  5  maravedis,  was  valued  at  160 
sterlings.  The  other  moslem  coins  which  circulated  in 
England  during  this  period  were  the  gold  half-mithcal 
and  a  few  of  the  old  silver  dirhems  and  half-dirhems. 
Byzantine   Moneys. — These   were  the    gold    besants  of 

;  65  grains,  valued  at  40  sterlings — a  ratio  of  12  for  1.^ 
The  besaut  of  this  period  was  a  thin  and  slightly  '"'  dished  " 
gold  coin,  or  "  scyphus,^^  with  a  rayed  image  on  one 
side.  It  was  the  direct  descendant  of  the  sacred  aureus 
of  Augustus  and  the  sacred  solidus  of  his  successors,  the 
sovereign-pontiffs  or  emperors  of  Rome. 

Other  Moneys. — Besides  these  coins  the  circulating 
money  of  England  included  the  silver  coins  of  France, 
Venice,  and  other  States.  These  were  rated,  by  official 
proclamation,  at  something  near  their  bullion  value. 
Roman  bronze  coins  of  varied  types  and  designs  also  cir- 
culated among  the  common  people,  and,  according  to  Sir 
John  Lubbock,  they  continue  to  circulate  among  them,  in 

,the  remoter  parts  of  England,  to  the  present  day. 

||      The  legal  status,  history,   and    tale  value  of  bronze  or 

'Copper  coins,  and  an  investigation  of  the  authority  under 
which  they  were  struck,  during  the  interval  between  the 
establishment  of  Christianity  in  the  provinces  and  the  fall 

•of  the  SacredEmpireinthe  thirteenth  century,  is  a  domain  of 
numismatics  upon  which  so  little  certain  light  has  hitherto 
been  shed,  that  it  would,  perhaps,  be  unsafe  to  make  it  a 

■  basis  for  historical  induction.  There  is  strong  reason  to 
believe  that  the  Roman  Senate  never  parted  with  its 
authority  to  strike  copper,  and  that  during  the  dark  and 
mediaeval  ages  the  Christian  provinces  were  supplied  with 
'  It  results  that  the  ratio  for  moslem' or  heretical  gold  was  9  or  10 
silver,  and  for  Byzantine  or  orthodox  gold,  12  silver. 


copper  coins  struck  by  moneyers  appointed  by  the  Senate, 
first  of  Rome  and  afterwards  of  Constantinople.  It  is 
certainly  a  remarkable  fact,  one  well  worthy  the  pro- 
foundest  attention,  that,  except  when  at  rare  intervals 
they  ventured  to  disregard  the  authority  of  the  Empire, 
the  Christian  princes  of  England  struck  no  copper  coins 
until  after  the  fall  of  Constantinople. 

The  Anglo-Norman  kings  coined  no  gold  at  all.  The 
coinage  of  gold  ceased  when  Christianity  was  introduced, 
and  the  last  gold  coins  known  to  have  been  struck  in 
England  previous  to  the  reign  of  Henry  III,  were  the 
dinars  of  Offa,  before  his  alleged  submission  to  the  yoke 
of  the  gospel.^ 

A  good  deal  of  learning  has  been  spent  upon  that 
passage  in  the  Black  Book  of  the  Exchequer  (ascribed  to 
William  of  Tilbury,  in  the  reign  of  Henry  II),  which 
states  that  a  custom  was  introduced  by  William  I,  of 
requiring  payments  into  the  treasury  to  be  made  ad  scalam 
(by  weight).  Lowndes  treats  this  custom  as  general,  and 
ascribes  it  to  the  universal  prevalence  of  clipped  and 
counterfeit  coins ;  but  this  explanation,  in  view  of  the 
valuations  based  on  the  Byzantine  ratio,  and  in  view  of 
the  large  hoards  of  full-weighted  sterlings  which  have 
been  found  in  modern  days,  is  not  satisfactory.  Madox — 
who  if  less  concise,  is  more  practical — assures  us  that 
coins  were  received  in  the  exchequer  by  deducting  six- 
pence from  each  twenty  shillings,  for  light  coins  :  this 
was  payment  ad  scalam.  When  the  coins  were  unusually 
light  they  were  only  received  as  standard  bullion  :  this 
was  payment  ad  jpensum.  When  their  purity  was  in 
question  they  were  received  as  crude  bullion  and  sent  to 
the  refiners  and  assayers  :  this  was  payment  by  combus- 
tion. In  brief,  this  means  that  payments mi/o  the  exchequer, 
when   made  in  light   or  debased  coins,  were,  as  nearly  as 

'  Two  or  three  heretical  exceptions  to  this   rule  have  been  already 


possible,  subjected  to  precisely  the  same  regulations  that 
they  are  to-day. 

There  is  no   reason   for  supposing  that  the  phrase   of 

'^ payments  into  the   treasury"   meant  anything  more   or 

less  than  what  it  literally  conveys.      Notwithstanding  the 

theory  of  Lowndes,  it  may   be  asserted  with  confidence 

that  it  did  not  include  other  payments,  such   as  payments 

Old  of  the  treasury,  nor  payments  between  merchants,  nor 

between  merchants  and  nobles.      For  all  these  classes  of 

payments    the    king,    at    times,    assumed     the    right    to 

.prescribe    different   sorts    of   moneys — a    right  which  he 

invariably  relinquished  when  admonished  by    the  sacred 

college  that  he   was  exceeding  his  powers.^      In  view  of 

this  tendency  of  the  crown  it  would  be  absurd  to  suppose 

that  when  clipped  or  counterfeit  coins  were  received  at  the 

treasury  by  weight,   they  were  re-coined   or  paid  out  by 

weight.      Nothing  of  the  sort.      The  revenues  came  from 

comparatively  few  sources,  whilst  payments  were  made  to 

a  vast  number  of  people ;  and  payment  by  weight  would 

have  been  simply  impracticable.      On  the  other  hand,   if 

\  the    clipped    and    counterfeit    coins     received     into    the 

treasury  had  been  re-coined,  it  would  have  taken  but  a 

comparatively  short  time  to  reform  the   entire   currency  ; 

but  no  such  reformation  appears  to  have  been  undertaken. 

The  fact  is  that  the  crown  practically  legitimatised  clipped 

I  and    counterfeit   coins,   not   by   receiving   them  into   the 

;  treasury    ad    scalam,    but   by   paying    them    out   of    the 

treasury   ad   numero.      Some    of    the    numismatists    have 

,:  patriotically  paraded  one  custom,  and  carefully  suppressed 

1  the    other ;    but    the    evidences    of    its   practice    appear 

i|  plainly  enough  in  the  course  of  this  work  to  satisfy  the 

j!  ordinary  demands  of  reason.      The  power  that   scrupled 

|i  not    to    receive    and    pay    by  different    weights,    would 

scarcely  have  hesitated  to  receive  and  pay  with  different 

coins,  and  it  may  be  confidently  believed  that  this  was  the 


^  This  practice  (elsewhere)  is  alluded  to  and  condemned  in  the  Koran. 



tlieni  weighed  19  lbs.  6  oz.  5  dwts.  This  is  an  average  of 
22  grains  each^  or  (assuming  the  fineness  as  equal  to- 
sterling)  20^  grains  fine;  but  as  he  says  nothing  of  the 
remaining  573  pieces  found  at  Tealby,  it  may  be  that  the- 
average  of  the  whole  corresponded  ^vitlL  Keary^s  assays. 

With   regard    to  tin  money  of    the   nobles^  mention  of" 
albata,  or  white  money  [argentum  hlancum)  occurs   in  the 
Exchequer    Eolls   pertaining  to   the   fourth  year   of    this 
reign^    where    it    is    expressly    distinguished   from   silver- 
money  {argenti).      In  the  fifteenth  year  Walter  Hose  paid 
one     shilling     in    the   pound    for    the    bianco    firmse    of 
Treatham  ;   in  the  seventeenth  year  twenty  shillings  were- 
paid  in   argento   hlanco  ;  in  the  twenty-third  year  Walter- 
de  Grimesby  forfeited    a  lot  of   the   same   metal  ;   in   the 
twenty-sixth  year  the  sheriffs  of   London   and   Middlesex 
paid  in,  from  the   effects  of   a   coin  clipper,  £9  bs.  4d.  in 
silver    pennies    and    five    marks   in  ''  white  money."      In, 
order  to  determine  the   meaning  of  "  white  money/'  it  is 
to  be  remarked  that  the  term  "  argento  hlanco  eomrninato  " 
was  used  when   silver   bullion  was  meant.      For  example,. 
in  the  thirtieth  year  of  Henry  II,  the  sheriff  of  Devonshire 
paid  8s.  9f?.  in  bullion  [argento  hlanco  examinato),  made  up- 
of  divers  old  coins,  and  in  the  thirty-third  year  the  same 
sheriff  paid  twenty-six   pennies   in  bullion  [argento  hlanco- 
exavvinato),  made  up  of  numerous  coins   dug  up  from  the- 
earth.      Sir   Charles  Freemantle  was  of  opinion  that  the 
trial  of  the  pix  mentioned  in  the  Lansdowne  MS.  related  to 
this  reign. ^      In  this  opinion  theauthor  finds  himself  unable 
to    concur,    but    believes   that  it    relates    to  the  reign   of' 
Edward  I.      Some  consideration  of  this  subject  will  appear- 
further  on. 

Turning  from  the  monetary  system  of  Henry  to  that  of 
his  successor,  we  find  it  marked  by  the  same  characteristics 
— a  full  legal-tender  gold  coinage  issued  by  the  Basileus, 
and  constituting  the  basis  of  the  system  ;  a  silver  coinage 
(pennies)  issued  by  the  king,  as  nearly  as  practicable  of 
'   British  :irint  Eeport,  1871,  p.  12. 


even  weight  with  and  exactly  oue-twelfth  the  value  of 
the  Byzantiue  sicilicus  ;  and  a  base  coinage  of  local  circu- 
lation, issued  by  the  nobles  and  ecclesiastics,  the  gold 
coinage  being  never,  the  silver  coinage  rarely,  and  the 
base  coinage  frequenth',  altered. 

Although  there  are  no  native  coins  extaut  of  Eichard  I, 
the  evidences  that  he  exercised  the  usual  coinage  rights 
of  provincial  kings  are  so  numerous  as  to  leave  little 
room  to  doubt  the  fact.  In  1189,  upon  his  accession  to 
the  throne,  Eichard  weighed  out  more  than  100,000  marks 
from  his  father's  treasure  at  Salisbury  ;  in  an  ordinance 
of  the  same  year  moneyers  at  Winchester  are  mentioned  ; 
in  the  same  year  he  granted  a  local  coinage-license  to 
the  bishop  of  Lichfield;  in  1190,  while  at  Messina  on  a 
crusading  expedition,  he  found  it  necessary  to  command 
and  exhort  his  followers  to  accept  his  money — a  tolerably- 
sure  indication  of  coinage;  and  in  1191,  Henry  de  Corn- 
hill  was  charged  in  the  exchequer  accounts  with  £1,200 
for  supplying  the  cambium,  or  mints  of  England  (except 
"Winchester),  and  with  £400  the  profits  of  the  cambium 
for  a  year.  The  names  of  Eichard's  moneyers  in  his 
mints  at  Warwick,  Rochester,  and  Carlisle  appear  in 
several  texts  relating  to  his  reign.  Coins  which  were 
struck  in  Poitou  4fcider  his  authority  are  still  extant. 
Finally,  as  will  presentl;^  appear  evident,  he  granted  and 
revoked  licenses  to  nobles  and  ecclesiastics  to  strike  tin 
and  other  base  coins.  All  these  prerogatives  were  such 
as  were  common  to  provincial  kings  ;  but^ichard  struck 
no  gold,  and  made  no  attempt  either  to  interdict  the 
circulation  of  the  Imperial  coins  or  to  alter  the  sacred 
valuation  of  gold  and  silver  which  was  laid  down  in  the 
constitution  of  the  Empire. 

With  regard  to  his  ransom,  the  inference  of  new  coinage 
is  totally  wanting.  In  1192  Richard  was  taken  prisoner 
on  the  continent,  and  handed  over  to  Henry  YI,  of  Ger- 
many. In  1194  he  was  ransomed  for  about  the  same 
amount  of  money  that  he  is  said  to  have  inherited  from 


his  father.  This  ransom  was  collected  in  England  and 
from  the  possessions  of  the  English  crown  in  France. 
From  the  particulars  of  its  collection — to  be  found  in  the 
pages  of  Madox — it  appears  to  have  been  contributed  in 
coins.  Caxton  says  that  plate  "  was  molten  and  made 
into  money. ^'  Stowe  makes  a  similar  statement.  Alto- 
gether ten  ancient  texts  agree  in  stating  that  the  ransom 
was  paid  in  money,  and  that  the  same  was  answered  in 
"  marks  weight  of  Cologne/'  which  latter  was  natural, 
that  being  the  standard  of  weight  with  Avhich  the  emperor 
was  most  familiar.  Notwithstanding  this  testimony,  it 
may  be  safely  conjectured  that  there  was  no  new  coinage, 
for  such  an  operation  would  have  been  needless,  tedious, 
and  expensive.  The  old  coin  and  bullion  was  probably 
melted  down,  refined,  cast  into  bars,  assayed,  weighed, 
and  delivered  to  the  emperor's  legate — a  supposition  that 
precisely  agrees  with  Polydore  Vergil's  account  of  the 

In  this  same  year  (1194),  according  to  Trivet  and 
Brompton,  the  king  decried  the  divers  coins  of  the  nobles 
and  ecclesiastics  which  remained  in  circulation,  and 
ordained  one  kind  of  (silver)  money  to  be  current  through- 
out his  realm. ^  Among  these  various  coins  were  those 
of  tin.  Camden  would  have  us  believe  that  the  coinage 
of  tin  was  a  term  used  to  denote  merely  the  payment  of 
that  forty  shillings  per  one  thousand  pounds  weight 
which  was  the  heirloom  of  the  dukes  of  Cornwall ;  but 
this  can  only  relate  to  a  subsequent  period,  for  there  were 
no  dukes  of  Cornwall  in  the  reign  of  Richard  I. 

In  1196  Henry  de  Casteillun,  chamberlain  of  London, 
accounted  to  the  king  for  £379  Is.  6d.,  received  for  fines 
and  tenths  on  imported  tin  and  other  mercatures,  also  for 
'  In  this  same  year  (1194)  occurs  what  has  been  regarded  as  the  earliest 
mention  in  extant  texts  of  the  mark,  valued  at  13s.  4d.  (Fleetwood,  p.  30, 
from  M.  Paris)  ;  but,  as  shown  in  a  previous  chapter,  the  mark  of  13s.  4cZ. 
is  three  or  four  centuries  earlier.  The  mark  of  1194  was  composed  of  five 
gold  maravedis ;  13s.  4<d.  was  its  value  in  silver,  at  the  Christian  ratio 
of  12. 


16s.  lOd.,  the  chattels  of  certain  clippers.^  In  the  same 
year  £1  19s.  Id.  were  allowed  to  Odo  le  Petit  in  his 
account  for  the  profit  of  the  king's  mint  for  erecting- 
therein  a  hutch  and  forge  (fahrica)  and  utensils  for 
making  "  albata  silver/'  or  albata  money  [dealhandum 
argentum),  also  £2  4s.  for  a  furnace  and  other  devices  for 
working  the  same.  These  coins,  though  struck  in  the 
royal  mint,  were  not  of  royal  issue,  and  could  have  had 
only  a  local  and  limited  course  within  the  domains  of  the 
noble  for  whom  they  were  made.  In  the  same  year  the 
sheriff  of  Worcestershire  accounted  for  £40  13s.  6d. 
albata,  or  album,  money,  the  balance  of  his  form  of  the 
county.  Of  this  sum  he  had  paid  £12  in  album  money 
to  the  archbishop  of  Canterbury,  and  owed  £28  13s.  6d. 
in  album  money  to  the  exchequer,  besides  enough  more 
to  make  up  the  difference  between  £12  silver  money  and 
the  like  sum  album  money,  paid  to  the  aforesaid  arch- 
bishop. In  explaining  the  use  of  the  term  "hlanc,"  Madox 
confuses  hlanc  silver  and  hlanc  money.  The  former  was 
silver  bullion,  the  latter  a  white  money,  sometimes  called 
album,  made  wholly  or  for  the  most  part  of  tin.  The 
:  meaning  of  album  money  is  clearly  indicated  in  several 
of  the  Exchequer  Rolls,  which  he  himself  cites." 

In  the  same  year  (1196)  the  king  granted  a  coinage 
hcense  to  the  bishop  of  Durham.  In  1198  William  de 
Wroteham  accounted  at  the  exchequer  for  the  yearly 
farm  and  profits  of  the  mines  of  Devonshire  and  Corn- 
wall, partly  in  money  and  partly  in  tin  bullion.  This 
bullion  appears  to  have  been  sold  for  tin  marks,  for  in 
the  loth  and  1-lth  John,  who  succeeded  Richard  I, 
this  same  William  de  Wroteham  accounted  to  the  king 
both  for  his  ferm  and  for  the  marks  obtained  from  the 
tin  {de  marcis  provenieutihus  de  stanno).  It  may  be  safely 
inferred  that  in  all  cases  these  base  coinages  were  issued 
by  the  nobles  or  ecclesiastics,  and  were  of  limited  course.^ 

1  Madox,  i,  p.  775.  "  Ibid.,  i,  p.  280. 

2  The  writei-s  who  aUude  to  these  corrupt  coinages  are  Tindal  ("  Notes 


Sir  Mathew  Hale  {''  Slieriffs'  Accounts  '^)  proves  that 
during  tlie  Norman  era  farms  were  let  variously  upon  a 
money  rent  [numero)  or  a  bullion  rent  (hlanc),  but  that 
in  both  cases  the  actual  payments  were  made  in  kind. 
Even  the  payments  into  the  exchequer — which  Madox 
would  lead  us  to  infer  were  always  made  in  silver  ad 
scalum,  ad  jpensuni,  or  by  comhiistion — were  often  made ' 
with  goats  and  pigs.  Lord  Liverpool's  researches  led 
him  to  the  same  conclusion.  He  says  (chapter  x)  that  in 
the  reigns  of  William  I,  and  William  II,  and  during  a 
great  part  of  the  reign  of  Henry  I,  the  king's  rents, 
arising  from  his  demesnes  (which  formed  at  that  time  an 
important  part  of  the  royal  revenue)  though  reserved  in 
money,  were  realh'  answered  in  cattle,  corn,  and  other 
provisions,  because  money  was  then  scarce  among  the 
people.^  The  rents  of  private  landholders  continued  to 
be  paid  in  kind  down  to  a  still  later  period.  The  best 
evidence  with  respect  to  this  matter  is  given  by  the 
writer  of  the  Black  Book,  or  Liber  Niger  Scaccarii,  cited 
elsewhere,  who  avers  that  he  had  conversed  with  men 
who  saw  the  rents  brought  in  kind  to  the  kingf's  court. 

Such  are  the  monetary  monuraents,  and  such  were  the 
monetary  systems,  of  the  Anglo-Norman  kings.  That 
attempts  were  made  to  harmonise  the  diverse  materials 
of  which  they  were  composed — Roman,  early  Gothic, 
Moslem,  Anglo-Saxon,  Carlovingian,  and  Byzantine — ^is 
proved  by  the  intervaluations  of  Domesday  Book,  and 
the  gradual  suppression  and  disappearance  of  some  of 
these  materials,  chiefly  the  eai'ly  Gothic  and  Moslem; 
but  it  is  equally  evident  that  the  attempt  was  only 
partially  successful,  and  that  there  yet  remained — as,  for 
example,  in  the  mark  and  pound — an  incongruous  medley 
of  pagan  and  Christian  denominations,  and  in  the  divided 
authority  to  coin — for  example — to  the  Basileus  gold,  and 

'  However,  they  were  commuted  for  money  by  Henry  I.  (And.  "  Com." 
i,  pp.  248-55).  This  was  probably  after  his  various  coinages  had  ren- 
dered money  sufficiently  plentiful. 


to  the  kings,  nobles,  and  prelates  silver  (upon  conditions)  — 
another  medley,  which  faithfully  reflected  the  general 
confusion  of  a  period,  whose  history  was  one  of  personal 
wars,  personal  combats,  and  personal  displays  of  heroism, 
chivalry,  or  religious  devotion.  Coeur  de  Lion  is  its 
false  ideal  ;  Froissart  was  its  true  historian  ;  and  all 
attempts  to  deduce  from  such  materials  an  independent 
national  existence  or  policy  for  France,  England,  Ger- 
many, or  Spain  during  this  early  period  have  been  both 
unsuccessful  and  misleading. 



Purity  of  the  coinage  before  the  fall  of  Constantinople — Corrupt 
state  afterwards — The  change  was  due  to  the  destruction  of  the  sacer- 
dotal authority,  the  disappearance  of  the  sacred  besant,  and  the  assump- 
tion of  certain  regalian  rights  by  the  kings  of  England — "Whilst  con- 
tracts could  be  made  in  gold  besants,  there  was  no  profit  in  tampering 
with  the  silver  coinage — Afterwards  it  became  one  of  the  commonest 
resources  of  royal  finance — Coinage  systems  of  Henry  II — Eichard  I — 
John — Henry  III — Edward  I. 

^  I  ^HE  evidences  whicli  will  be  brought  together  in  this 
-*-  chapter  maybe  conveniently  formulated  as  follows : — 
Previous  to  the  fall  of  Constantinople  there  were  but  few 
tamperings  with  the  English  coinage,  afterwards  such 
tamperings  became  numerous  and  continual — a  proof  that 
some  event  had  occurred  meanwhile  to  render  them  prac- 
ticable and  profitable,  such  event  having  been,  in  fact, 
the  acquisition  by  the  king  of  the  coinage  rights  which 
the  Basileus  had  lost.  Previous  to  the  fall  of  Constanti- 
nople no  king  of  England  had  ventured  to  strike  a  gold 
coin,  whereas  soon  after  that  event,  and  following  the 
example  of  other  princes  of  the  West,  a  gold  coin  was 
struck  by  Henry  III ;  and  although  this  coin  was  recalled 
and  melted  down,  it  was  followed  by  another  one  struck 
by  Edward  III.  The  issuance  of  this  coin,  the  gold 
noble,  or  half-mark,  is  regarded  as  the  definite  declaration 
of  England's  independence. 

Reference  to  other  portions  of  this  work  must  convince 
the  reader  that  from  William  I  to  Henry  II — an  interval 
of  nearly  a  century — the  coins  issued  by  the  kings  of 
England  Avere   substantially  free   from   degradation    and 


debasement.      In   other  words^   the  Xornian  kings  rarely 

tampered,  with  the  coinage.      The  coins   were   all   of    one 

class — silver  pennies,    sometimes    including    half-pennies, 

i  but  usually  pennies   only.      These   did  not  constitute  the 

only  money  in  circulation,  but  the  only  money  issued  by 

the  king.      In  addition   to  the   silver  pennies,  there  were 

coins  issued  by  the  nobles  and  ecclesiastics,  commonly  base 

silver  coins,  of  local  course  and  circulation,  and  the  gold 

coins   of   the    Basileus,  valued  by  the   Basileus   always  at 

cue  for  twelve  weights  of  silver,  and  made  and  accepted 

as  legal  tender  for  any  sum  in  all  parts  of  the  kingdom.^ 

i  Other  foreign  coins  had  only  a  permissive  circulation,  at 

:  valuations  announced  from  time  to  time  by  the  king ;   the 

•  gold  coins  of   Constantinople  constituted  the  backbone  of 

the  circulation,  and  kept  the  rest  of  it  straig-ht.      So  long 

as  contracts  could  lawfully  be   made  in   these  coins,  the 

king  could  make   no  profit  by  tampering  with  the  silver 

i  pennies  ;   accordingly  he  struck  the  latter,  as  nearly  as  he 

could,  to  contain  exactly  the  same  quantity  of  fine  metal 

as    the    gold    shilling,   or  quarter-besant,  of  the  Empire. 

As   previously    shown,    the    besant    contained    about    73, 

afterwards  65,  grains  fine.      The   gold  shilling,  therefore, 

contained  18 j,  afterwards  16;^,  grains  fine  ;   and  this  was 

exactly  the  contents  of  silver  in  the  two  classes  of  silver 

pennies  of  the  heptarchy  and  of  the  Norman  kings;  twelve 

such  pennies   being  valued   at  a  shilling  and  forty-eight 

at  a  besant. 

With  the  reign  of  Henry  II,  (Plantagenet)  commenced 
those  tamperings  with  money  which  announced  the 
advent  of  independent  sovereign  power  in  England,  and 
presaged  the  extinction  of  imperial  control.  Plantagenet 
inheinted  from  his  mother  the  States  of  Normandy  and 
Maine,  and  from  his  father  Touraine  and  Anjou,  from  his 
wife  Eleanor,  who  had  been  divorced  from  Louis  VII,  he 
received  Poitou,  Saintonge,  Angumois,  and  Aquitaine  ;  in 

'  The  subject  of  Eoman  copper  coins  during  the   medireval   period  is 
alluded  to  in  the  last  chapter. 


a  word,  he   became  possessed  of  the   entire  western  hal 
of    France  from   the   Channel    to    the    Pyrenees.      Afteil 
adding   these    domains    to    the    crown    of    England,    he 
acquired  Northumberland    by  treaty   with    the    king    oJ| 
Scotland.      Ireland    he   acquired   by   a   grant    from  Popt 
Hadrian  TV,  in  1154.      The  productions  and  trade  of  these 
extensive    domains,    together    with    his    share     of     that 
additional  trade  and  wealth,  which,  in  common  with  othei 
Christian  princes,   the  king  of  England  derived   from  the! 
suppression  and  spoliation  of  the  Spanish- Arabian  empireJ 
are    indicated    to    some    extent    by  the  vastly  increasec 
revenues  of  crown  and  mitre,   the  splendour  of  the  courti| 
and  the  number  and  wealth   of  the   churches.      To  this|| 
period  belongs  some  of  the  finest  specimens   of  ecclesias- 
tical   architecture    yet    existing    in    England.      Yet    the] 
monetary    monuments    are    still    those    of    a  vassal    andij 
feudal    State.      An    important  part  of    the   coinage   was|| 
struck,  valued   and  made   part  of  the  circulation  by  onel 
foreign  prince  (the  Basileus),  whilst  an  important  part  of] 
the  revenues  were  collected  and  enjoyed  by  another  (theJ 
pope).      The  influx  of  besants,  the  efflux  of  Peter's-pence,] 
the   defiant  issues   of    baronial  and    ecclesiastical    mints,! 
which    included    leather    and    tin    coins,   all  betray  the 
impotency  of  the  king  to  preserve   the   national  measure] 
of  value  from  degradation  and  derangement. 

Of  old  sterlings  there  were  probably  few  or  none  in 
circulation  when  Henry  II.  came  to  the  throne  ;  whilst  of 
the  base  and  adulterated  coins  issued  by  the  robbers  and 
forgers,  who  flourished  during  the  weak  reign  of  Stephen, 
there  were  many.  Among  Henry's  early  cares  was  the 
suppression  of  these  moneys  and  the  issuance  in  their 
place  of  a  new  coinage  (about  the  year  1156).  This  coin- J 
age  in  violation  of  the  king's  commands  was  made  below 
the  standard — a  fault  for  which  he  severely  punished  the 

About  the  year  1180  ^  Henry  II.  sent  to  Tours  for  Philip 

'  "  The  Norman  Chronicle  "  states  that  the  new  sterling  money  was 
stiTick  in  1175  (Madox,  i,  p.  278). 


Ayiuary,  a  French  tuoneyer,  and  committed  to  liis  charge 
the  striking  of  a  new  stamp  of  sterlings.  These  were 
issued^  and  the  previous  sterlings  retired.  After  executing 
this  work,  Aymary  was  himself  charged  with  fraud,  and 
dismissed  to  his  own  country,  yet  the  appearance  of  the 
coins  supposed  to  have  been  minted  under  his  superin- 
tendence, great  numbers  of  which  are  extant,  afford  no 
support  to  this  accusation.  The  pieces  are  indeed  badly 
executed,  and  may  thus  have  formed  a  ready  temptation 
t-o  rounders  and  clippei's  ;  the  weights  are  also  irregular. 
Perhaps  it  was  on  these  accounts  that  the  foreign  artist 
was  so  summarily  treated. 

The  rates  of  exchange  established  by  the  mint  between 
the  new  sterlings  and  the  old  ones — whether  the  base  ones 
of  115G,  or  the  rounded  and  clipped  ones,  is  uncertain — 
prove  that  the  latter  were  inferior  in  value  to  the  former 
lay  about  10  per  cent. ;  at  all  events,  this  rate  probably 
marks  the  degree  to  which  clipping  extended  at  this 
period.  For  £375  Ss.  9cl.  of  old  clipped  money  the  mint 
paid  £343  15s.  6d.  of  new;  for  £100  old,  £89  6s.  8d. 
new  ;  for  £100  old,  £83  6s.  8d.  new,  and  so  on.^  This 
nova  moneta  is  known  to  numismatists  as  "  short- 
cross  pennies,'^  and  these  became  so  popular  that  they 
continued  to  be  struck  in  the  name  of  "  Henri  "  until  the 
middle  of  the  reign  of  Henry  III  (1247),  although  the 
reigns  of  Richard  I,  and  John  Lackland  intervened.  This, 
however,  does  not  necessarily  imply  that  Richard  and 
John  struck  such  coins.  The  extant  coins  of  Henry  belong 
solely  to  the  last  issue.  A  hoard  of  these  coins  was  found 
at  Roylston  in  1721.  Other  pieces,  to  the  number  of 
5700,  were  found  at  Tealby,  in  Lincolnshire,  in  1807. 
They  were  as  fresh  as  when  they  left  the  mint.  Accord- 
ing to  Keary,  the  fineness  is  0*925,  and  the  contents  in 
fine  silver  of  the  most  perfect  specimens,  18 j  grains.  Dr. 
Ruding's  valuable  but  antiquated  work  gives  what  seems 
to  be  a  wholly  different  account.  He  says  that  5127  of 
^  Madox,  i,  p.  278. 


tliein  weighed  19  lbs.  6  oz.  5  dwts.  This  is  an  average  of 
22  grains  each^  or  (assuming  the  fineness  as  equal  to- 
sterling)  20^  grains  fine;  but  as  he  sajs  nothing  of  the 
remaining  573  pieces  found  at  Tealby,  it  may  be  that  the- 
average  of  the  whole  corresponded  with  Keary's  assays. 

With  regard  to  tin  money  of  the  nobles,  mention  of 
albata,  or  white  money  {argenhnn  hiancum)  occurs  in  the 
Exchequer  Eolls  pertaining  to  the  fourth  year  of  this 
reign,  where  it  is  expressly  distinguished  from  silver- 
money  {argenti).  In  the  fifteenth  year  Walter  Hose  paid 
one  shilling  in  the  pound  for  the  hlanco  firmss  of 
Treatham  ;  in  the  seventeenth  year  twenty  shillings  were- 
paid  in  argento  hlanco  ;  in  the  twenty-third  year  Walter- 
de  Grimesby  forfeited  a  lot  of  the  same  metal  ;  in  the 
twenty- sixth  year  the  sheriffs  of  London  and  Middlesex 
paid  in,  from  the  effects  of  a  coin  clipper,  £9  5s.  M.  in 
silver  pennies  and  five  marks  in  ''  white  money."  In. 
order  to  determine  the  meaning*  of  "  white  money,"  it  is 
to  be  remarked  that  the  term  "  argento  hlanco  examinato  " 
was  used  when  silver  bullion  was  meant.  For  example,, 
in  the  thirtieth  year  of  Henry  II,  the  sheriff  of  Devonshire 
paid  8s.  9f?.  in  bullion  {argento  hlanco  examinato),  made  up- 
of  divers  old  coins,  and  in  the  thirty-third  year  the  same 
sheriff  paid  twenty-six  pennies  in  bullion  {argento  hlanco- 
examinato) ,  made  up  of  numerous  coins  dug  up  from  the 
earth.  Sir  Charles  Freemantle  was  of  opinion  that  the 
trial  of  the  pix  mentioned  in  the  Lansdowne  MS.  related  to- 
this  reign. ^  In  this  opinion  theauthor  finds  himself  unable 
to  concur,  but  believes  that  it  relates  to  the  reign  of' 
Edward  I.  Some  consideration  of  this  subject  will  appear- 
further  on. 

Turning  from  the  monetary  system  of  Henry  to  that  of 
his  successor,  we  find  it  marked  by  the  same  characteristics. 
— a  full  legal-tender  gold  coinage  issued  by  the  Basileus, 
and  constituting  the  basis  of  the  system  ;  a  silver  coinage 
(pennies)  issued  by  the  king,  as  nearly  as  practicable  of! 
'   British  Mint  Eeport,  1871,  p.  12. 


even  weiglit   with    and   exactly   oue-tAvelftli  the  value  of 

the  Byzantine  sicilicus  ;  and  a  base  coinage  of  local  circu- 

!  lation,    issued    by  the   nobles   and    ecclesiastics,  the    gold 

:  coinage    being  never,  the   silver   coinage  rarely,   and  the 

;  base  coinage  frequently,  altered. 

Although  there  are  no  native  coins  extant  of  Richard  I, 
the  evidences  that  he  exercised  the  usual  coinage  rights 
I  of    provincial   kings    are    so   numerous   as  to   leave   little 
'  room  to  doubt  the  fact.      In  1189,  upon   his   accession   to 
;  the  throne,  Richard  weighed  out  more  than  100,000  marks 
I  from  his  father's  treasure  at   Salisbury  ;  in   an  ordinance 
I  of  the  same  year  moneyers  at  Winchester  are  mentioned  ; 
I  in  the   same  year  he  granted   a  local  coinage-license   to 
I  the   bishop  of  Lichfield;   in  1190,  while  at  Messina  on  a 
!  crusading  expedition,  he  found  it  necessary  to   command 
;  and  exhort  his  followers  to  accept  his  money — a  tolerably 
sure  indication  of  coinage;   and  in  1191,  Henry  de  Corn- 
i  hill  was  charged  in  the  exchequer  accounts  with  £1,200 
for  supplying  the  cambium,  or  mints  of  England  (except 
Winchester),  and  with    £400  the  profits   of  the  cambium 
for  a  year.      The    names   of   Richard's    moneyers    in   his 
mints    at   Warwick,    Rochester,    and    Carlisle    appear    in 
several    texts   relating  to    his   reign.      Coins   which   were 
struck   in   Poitou  4fcider    his    authority  are    still   extant. 
i  Finally,  as  will  presently  appear  evident,  he  granted  and 
I  revoked  licenses  to  nobles  and  ecclesiastics    to   strike  tin 
I  and  other  base   coins.      All  these  prerogatives  were  such 
as  were  common  to  provincial  kings ;   butTaichard  struck 
j  no   gold,  and   made   no   attempt    either   to    interdict   the 
'  circulation  of   the   Imperial    coins   or   to   alter  the  sacred 
valuation  of  gold   and   silver   which  was  laid  down  in  the 
constitution  of  the  Empire. 
'        With  regard  to  his  ransom,  the  inference  of  new  coinage 
'  is  totally  wanting.      In  1192   Richard  was  taken  prisoner 
j  on  the  continent,  and  handed  over  to  Henry  VI,  of  Ger- 
many.     In    1194   he   was   ransomed   for    about   the  same 
amount  of  money  that  he  is  said  to  have  inherited  from 


his  father.      This    ransom    was  collected  in  England  and  j 
from   the   possessions   of   the   English   crown    in    France.  ' 
From  the  particulars  of  its  collection — to  be  found  in  the 
pages  of  Madox — it  appears  to  have   been    contributed  in  : 
coins.      Caxton   sajs  that  plate  "  was   molten    and  made  ' 
into  jnoney."      Stowe   makes  a  similar  statement.      Alto-  ■ 
gether  ten  ancient  texts  agree  in  stating  that  the  ransom   i 
was  paid  in  monej^  and  that  the   same  was  answered  in   ' 
"  marks   weight   of    Cologne/'  which   latter  was  natural, 
that  being  the  standard  of  weight  with  which  the  emperor 
was    most    familiar.      Notwithstanding   this   testimony,  it   i 
may  be  safely  conjectured  that  there  was  no  new  coinage,   | 
for  such  an  operation  would  have  been  needless,  tedious, 
and   expensive.      The  old  coin  and  bullion  was  probably 
melted  down,  refined,  cast  into  bars,    assayed,  weighed, 
and  delivered  to  the  emperor's  legate — a  supposition  that 
precisely  agrees   with   Polydore  Yergil's    account    of   the    i 
affair.  ' 

In    this    same    year    (1194),    according   to    Trivet    and 
Brompton,  the  king  decried  the  divers  coins  of  the  nobles 
and    ecclesiastics    which    remained     in    circulation,    and 
ordained  one  kind  of  (silver)  money  to  be  current  through- 
out his  realm. ■^      Among  these  various   coins  were   those    i 
of  tin.      Camden  would   have  us  believe  that  the  coinasre 
of  tin  was  a  term  used  to  denote   merely  the  payment  of    I 
that   forty    shillings    per    one    thousand   pounds   weight    ' 
which  was  the  heirloom   of  the   dukes   of  Cornwall ;   but    i 
this  can  only  relate  to  a  subsequent  period,  for  there  were    j 
no  dukes  of  Cornwall  in  the  reign  of  Richard  I.  I 

In  1196  Henry  de  Casteillun,  chamberlain  of  London, 
accounted  to  the  king  for  £379  1^.  6d.,  received  for  fines 
and  tenths  on  imported  tin  and  other  mercatures,  also  for 
^  In  this  same  year  (1194-)  occurs  what  has  been  regarded  as  the  earliest 
mention  in  extant  texts  of  the  mark,  valued  at  I3s.  -kl.  (Fleetwood,  p.  30, 
from  M.  Paris)  ;  but,  as  shown  in  a  previous  chapter,  the  mark  of  13s.  4d. 
is  three  or  four  centuries  earlier.  The  mark  of  1194  was  composed  of  five 
gold  maravedis ;  13s.  4cZ.  was  its  value  in  silver,  at  the  Christian  ratio 
of  12. 


16s.  10^.,  the  chattels  of  certain  clippers.^      In  the  same 
year  £1    19s.   Id.   were  allowed   to    Odo    le   Petit    in  his 
account   for  the   profit   of    the  king's   mint  for    erecting 
therein    a    hutch   and   forge    {fahrica)    and    utensils    for 
making    "  albata  silver/'   or  albata  money    {dealhandum 
argentum),  also  £2  4s.  for  a  furnace  and  other  devices  for 
working  the   same.      These  coins,   though   struck   in   the 
royal  mint,  were  not  of  royal  issue,   and  could  have  had 
only  a  local  and  limited  course  within  the  domains  of  the 
noble  for  whom  they  were   made.      In  the  same  year  the 
sheriff    of    Worcestershire    accounted    for    £40    13s.    Qd. 
albata,  or  album,  money,  the  balance  of  his  ferm  of  the 
:  county.      Of  this  sum   he  had  paid  £12  in  album  money 
j  to  the  archbishop  of   Canterbury,  and  owed  £28  13s.   Qd. 
\  in  album  money  to  the  exchequer,  besides  enough  more 
:  to  make  up  the  difference  between  £12  silver  money  and 
\  the  like   sum   album   money,  paid  to  the  aforesaid  arch- 
bishop.    In  explaining  the  use  of  the  term  "6/a?ic,"Madox 
\  confuses  hlanc   silver  and  hlanc  money.      The  former  was 
silver  bullion,  the  latter  a  white  money,  sometimes  called 
album,   made  Avholly  or  for  the  most  part   of  tin.      The 
;  meaning  of  album  money  is  clearly  indicated  in  several 
of  the  Exchequer  Rolls,  which  he  himself  cites.^ 

In  the  same  year  (1196)  the  king  granted  a  coinage 
license  to  the  bishop  of  Durham.  In  1198  William  de 
Wroteham  accounted  at  the  exchequer  for  the  yearly 
ferm  and  profits  of  the  mines  of  Devonshire  and  Corn- 
wall, partly  in  money  and  partly  in  tin  bullion.  This 
bullion  appeal's  to  have  been  sold  for  tin  marks,  for  in 
the  13th  and  14th  John,  who  succeeded  Richard  I, 
this  same  William  de  Wroteham  accounted  to  the  king 
both  for  his  ferm  and  for  the  marks  obtained  from  the 
tin  {de  marcis  jprovenientibtis  de  stanno) .  It  may  be  safely 
inferred  that  in  all  cases  these  base  coinages  were  issued 
by  the  nobles  or  ecclesiastics,  and  were  of  limited  course.^ 
'  Madox,  i,  p.  775.  2  jbia.,  i,  p.  280. 

^  The  writers  who  allude  to  these  corrupt  coinages  are  Tindal  ("  Notes 


Tlie  albata  money  of  Richard's  time  was  either  a  com 
position  of  tin  and  silver — a  good  deal  of  tin  and  verj 
little  silver — or  else  merely  tin  coins  blanched  with  silver, 
The  clippers,  whose  chattels  were  confiscated  to  the 
exchequer  by  Henry  de  Casteillun,  must  have  practised 
their  art  upon  the  royal  coins,  for  there  could  have  been 
but  small  profit  from  exercising  it  upon  those  of  the 

Although,  immediately  after  the  payment  of  his  ransom, 
Richard  decried  all  other  coins  but  his  own,  his  edict 
became  a  dead  letter;  indeed,  he  was  probably  glad 
enough  to  see  the  base  coins  remain  in  circulation.  The 
population  of  England  and  Plantagenet  France  during 
the  reign  of  Richard  I,  was  probably  not  over  four  or 
five  millions,  and  the  total  money  not  over  as  many  shillings, 
or,  say,  £250,000.  Richai'd's  ransom  therefore  stripped 
the  kingdom  of  probably  one-third  or  one-fourth  of  its 
measure  of  value,  and  but  for  the  album  money  of  his 
nobles,  this  circumstance  might  have  brought  on  far 
greater  calamities  than  the  release  of  the  king  was 
expected  to  avert. 

The  main  defect  of  the  tin  coins  was  not  the  low  cost 
of  the  material  of  which  they  were  composed.  The  gold 
and  silver  obtained  from  the  spoliation  of  the  moslem 
and  the  Jews  were  cheaper  than  tin,  for  they  cost 
nothing  to  produce  beyond  the  labour  of  cutting  so 
many  pagan  and  infidel  throats,  whilst  tin  ore  had  to  be 
discove^red,  excavated,  and  reduced  to  metal.  But  there 
was  no  world-wide  demand  and  no  world's  stock  in  hand  to 
enhance  and  steady  the  value  of  tin,  whilst  as  to  gold  and 
silver  there  was  ;  and  this  is  chiefly  what  has  always  ren- 
dered these  metals  preferable  for  coins.  Tin  coins  were 
also  easily  counterfeited,  the  material  was  exposed  to 
rapid  oxidation,  and  the  condition  of  society  and  govern- 
to  Rupin,"  i,  p.  258) ;  Leake  ("  Histoncal  Account  of  English  Money," 
p.  58)  ;  Nicholson  ("  Eng.  History,"  lib.  i,  p.  254) ;  and  the  modern  special 
■writers  on  tin  and  base  coins. 


ment  was  wholly  unfitted  for  the  use  of  coins  of  any 
material  which  could  not  conveniently  and  without  sub- 
stantial loss  be  buried  in  the  earth,  or  otherwise  hoarded 
for  use  in  future  and  safer  times. 

There  are  no  English  coins  extant  of  John.  It  is  stated  ^ 
that  this  king  sent  for  certain  Easterling  artists  to  refine 
his  silver  coins.  These  may  have  been  the  coins  he  struck 
in  Ireland,  as  lord  paramount  of  that  country,  specimens 
of  which  still  remain.  On  the  other  hand,  they  may  have 
been  English  sterlings,  of  which  no  specimens  have 
vet  been  found."  John  lost  most  of  his  French  posses- 
sions to  Philip  II,  and  thus,  almost  at  the  outset  of  his 
career,  gained  the  name  of  Lackland.  His  return  to 
England  Avas  marked  by  the  imposition  of  fines  and  aids, 
which,  because  they  extended  to  the  monasteries,  earned 
for  him  the  curses  of  the  archbishop  of  York  and  a  de- 
famation of  character  which  extends  to  the  present  time. 
This  being  probably  in  great  measure  unjust,^ should  enjoin 
caution  in  weighing  the  events  of  his  reign.  Camden 
ascribes  to  this  period  the  leather  money  attributed  to 
John,  but  though  belonging  to  his  reign,  it  may  have 
been  issued  by  his  vassals  ;  at  all  events  it  wholly  failed 
to  secure  public  appreciation.  In  1205  John  publicly 
decried  all  coins  which  were  clipped  more  than  an  eighth ; 
severely  denounced  and  threatened  all  clippers,  particu- 
larly the  Jews,  whom  he  affected  to  believe  were  the  chief 
offenders;  forbade  the  re-blanching  of  old  pennies,  which 
could  have  been  none  other  than  the  tin  coins  of  his  nobles  ; 
and  fixed  the  rate  for  exchanging  "  fine  and  pure  silver 
at  the  king's  exchanges  of  England,  and  at  the  arch- 
bishop's exchange  of  Canterbury,  at  sixpence  inthepound." 
This  could  not  have  meant  the  exchange  of  new  coins  for 

^  Anderson's  "  History  Commerce,"  i,  p.  199. 

2  The  "  Encyc.  Brit.,"  art.  "  Coin,"  states  that  since  Richard  I,  all  coin- 
ing  has  been  confined  to  the  Tower  of  London  and  the  provincial  mint  of 
"Winchester.  This  is  a  double  error.  Sir  Mathew  Hale's  account  of  this 
matter  is  the  correct  one. 

^  Anderson's  "  History  Commerce,"  i,  p.  193. 



old  ones  by  tale,  because  the  latter  were  mucH  worn  and 
clipped.  It  probably  meant  the  exchange  of  new  coins, 
weisrht  for  weight,  for  old  ones. 

More  important,  however,  than  the  king's  coins  were 
those  of  the  Basileus.  The  form  used  in  expressing 
large  sums  of  money  proves  the  still  common  use  of  gold 
besants  and  Byzantine  trientes  and  shillings.  For 
example,  in  the  previous  reign,  where  £100  of  old  coins 
are  bought  for  £83  6s.  Hd.  of  new,  the  sum  is  thus  writtea 
in  the  Great  Roll  of  the  Exchequer  :  '^quarter  XX  1  & 
IXVj,  s.  &  Yiij  d."  meaning  four  score  libras,  sixty-six 
solidi,  and  eight  denarii.  The  former  were  evidently 
composed  of  actual  besants  and  thirds,  and  quarter- 
besants.  In  the  Magna  Charta  of  this  reign  (Art.  2), 
where  "  centum  solidus  "  is  mentioned  as  the  price  of  a 
knight's  relief  (a  sort  of  succession  duty),  it  is  usually 
translated  as  ''one  hundred  shillings."  Were  thesa 
shillings  merely  moneys  of  account,  as  is  commonly  held^ 
it  would  be  difficult  to  explain  why  they  were  not  ex- 
pressed in  ''  libras  "  or  pounds  of  account,  like  the  sums 
which  precede  them  in  the  same  text.  They  were 
evidently  actual  quarter-besants,  or  shillings,  and,  there- 
fore, belonged  to  the  gold  issues  of  the  Basileus.  The 
vassalian  coinage  of  tin,  which  characterised  the  preced- 
ing reigns  of  Plantagenets,  appears  to  have  been  also 
permitted  by  John,  for  in  the  thirteenth  year  of  his  reign 
(1211),  William  de  Wroteham  paid  into  the  Exchequer 
£543  5.9.  0^.,  and  in  the  following  year  (1212)  £663  12^.  9d., 
for  the  money  which  he  was  permitted  to  strike  from  the 
tin  of  Cornwall  and  Devon.  ^  The  meaning  here 
given  to  this  record  finds  corroboration  in  the  allowance 
of  one-eighth  for  clipped  coins  contained  in  the  decree  of 
1205,  which  would  have  been  excessive  and  impracticable 
in  relation  to  sterling  silver,  but  which,  when  applied  to 
tin  or  albata  coins,  was  reasonable. 

^  "  Provenientibus  de  Stanno    Comubise    et    Devonias "   (Madox,  ii, 
p.  132). 


j       Two  yeai's  after  John  had  taken  his   humiliating  oath 

;  of  vassalage  to  the  pope  he  revolted  from  his  servitude, 

and  in  the  Great  Charter  which  he  sealed  at  Ruunymede, 

1  June  15,  1215,  he   assumed  powers  which  only  belong  to 

■  an    independent    monarch.        With    the    fickleness    that 

i  mai'ked  his  entire  career,  he  violated  this   charter  in  the 

[!  following   August,    and   in    September    it    was    formally 

!  annulled  by  his  mastei',  the  pope,       Soon  after  this  John 

i  was  poisoned  to  death.      He  was  a  weak  prince,  but  brief 

:  though  his  reign    and   irresolute  his   purpose,  he    earned 

the   glory  of  executing  an  instrument  which  has  served 

:.  as   the   model    of    every  Bill   of    Rights  won    by   Anglo- 

'.  Saxons  from  that  day  to  the  present.      Though  disclaimed 

by  John    and  denounced  by  the  pope,  Magna  Charta  was 

not  dead,  but  lived   on,    and   both    in    its   inception   and 

repeated    confirmation    it    marks    the    slow  and  toilsome 

:  steps  by  which  our  race  has  won  from  hierai^ch,  king,  and 

,  noble  its  present  inestimable  liberties. 

The   only  silver  coins  of  the  reign  of  Henry  III.  now 

1  extant  are   the  sterlings  struck  in  1248,  originally  of   the 

'  usual  weight  and  fineness,  but    for  the  most  part    much 

worn,  rounded,  and  clipped.      In  addition  to  these  issues, 

certain  base  coins  where  in  circulation,  which  are  reputed 

to  have  been  of  foreign  fabrication;   but  which  are  more 

i  likely  to  have  been   struck  by  or  for  English   nobles  and 

.  ecclesiastics.      Some    of   these    were    probably    coined    in 

the  abbey  of   St.   Albans.      When  complaint  was  made  of 

.  them,  the  transgressors  were  permitted  to  avail  themselves 

!  of    a  technical    defence,    and  so     escaped  punishment.  ^ 

I  Heme    states   that  he  had  one  of  these  base  coins  in  his 

:  possession,  and  describes  its  composition." 

The  presence  of  tin  money,  also  struck  by  the  nobles 

and  ecclesiastics,  is   evinced   by  several   contemporaneous 

(references  which  point  to  the  use  of  that  metal  for  coinage. 

>  Madox,  i,  p.  759,  note  x. 

2  W.  Henningford,  preface,  p.  xlv,  cited  in  Ruding,  ii,  p.  74. 


The    following    passage   from    Matthew    Paris   (sub   anno 
1247)  is  an  example  : — 

"  As  the  money  was  now  adulterated  and  falsified 
beyond  measure,  the  king  began  to  deliberate  on  some 
remedy  for  this,  namely,  whether  the  coins  could  not  be 
advantag-eously  altered  in  form  or  metal ;  but  it  seemed  to 
many  wise  persons  that  it  would  be  more  advantageous  to 
change  the  metal  than  to  alter  the  shape,  since  it  was  for  ; 
the  sake  of  the  metal,  not  the  shape,  that  the  money  was 
subject  to  such  corruption  and  injury."  As  a  matter  of 
fact,  however,  the  king  did  not  change  either  the  metal 
or  the  shape. 

In  the  30th  Henry  III,  the  sheriff  of  Devonshire  paid 
into  the  exchequer  25s.  Id.,  the  profits  of  his  contract  for 
fining  the  black  metal  {nigra  minera),  which  we  take  to 
be  tin,  that  being  its  usual  colour  in  the  ore  (oxide) .  He 
also  accounts  for  79s.  received  from  the  sale  of  dealbanda 
and  tin.  Dealbanda  seems  to  have  been  a  composition  of 
tin,  like  album  or  albata.  He  also  accounts  for  £6  13s.  8d., 
profit  upon  an  issue  of  small  coins,  and  of  £54  15s.  3(i. 
upon  an  issue  of  large  coins  [de  exita  majoris  cunei) ,\)otla. 
of  which  were  evidently  of  tin,  and  were  emitted  by  some 
local  magnate.  The  comparatively  small  profit  thus 
derived  by  the  crown  from  the  issue  of  tin  coins  in  one 
of  the  principal  tin-mining  districts  of  England,  implies 
a  dwindling  of  this  coinage.  It  is  true  that  we  have  no 
accounts  from  Cornwall,  and  none  from  the  mints,  of  tin 
coined  during  this  reign,  so  that  quantitative  conclusions 
drawn  from  this  single  entry  are  apt  to  be  misleading. 

Although,  as  is  shown  in  another  chapter,  this  reign  is 
marked  by  the  issue  of  a  native  gold  coin — the  first  one  ever 
struck  by  a  Christian  king  of  England — the  issue  was  almost 
immediately  retired,  and  matters  remained  apparently 
as  before;  so  that  the  besants  of  the  sacred  mint  continued 
to  form  the  basis  of  the  English  monetary  system.  But 
though  in  shrinking  from  the  coinage  of  gold  the  king 
was  afraid  to  definitively  repudiate  the   suzerainty  of  the 


sacred  Empire,  the    nobles  and  the  burghers    were   not. 

The  General  Council  of  1247  resolved  to  lower  the  stan- 

I  dard  of  royal  silver  coins — an  act  which  by  itself  is  almost 

1  sufficient    to    raai'k   the   fall  of    the   sacred   Empire,    and 

the    declining     authority     of     Rome.^  Corrupt    coins 

:  made  their  appearance  in  all  directions — counterfeit  coins 

;  at  St.  Albans;  tin  coins  in  Cornwall  and  Devon ;  base  and 

clipped     coins    everywhere.^       It    is    now    evident   that 

i  at    this    juncture    the    besant   began   to   disappear    from 

I  circulation,  and  that  its  agency  in  regulating  the  English 

monetary   system    was   sensibly    diminished ;   but  in    the 

j  era  of  the  Plantagenets  no  such  explanation  offered  itself. 

'  In  that  age   the   solution   of  all  monetary   problems  was 

found    in    torturing    the    Jews.       Henry     had    resorted 

to     this    measure    before    the   decision    of    the    General 

Council.^       He    now    resorted    to    it    again.      It    was   a 

pretty  theory,    a   furtive   belief    in  whose   efficacy  is  not 

yet  wholly  effaced  from  the  minds  of  men;  but  it  did  not 

work.      With   the    second    persecution  of   the   Jews,  the 

besants  became  still  scai'cer,  and  as,  for  lack  of  besants, 

couti'acts   could  no  longer  be   discharged  with  them,  the 

use   of    other    coins    was    rendered    unavoidable,  and   the 

multiplication    of    base   or    over-valued    ones    was    thus 

encouraged.        One    of    the   last   contracts   in   which    the 

consideration  is   specifically  expressed   in  besants    is   still 

extant.      It   is  a   Hebrew  bond   and    mortgage    executed 

during   the     reign    of     Henry   III,    a   complete     English 

translation  of  which,  by  Dr.  Samuel  Pegge,  the  antiquarian, 

appeared  in  the  "  Gentleman's  Magazine,"  1756,  p.  465. 

The  besants  are  therein  called  laku  of  gold,  in  allusion  to 

the  rayed  figure  which  is  stamped  upon  them,  laku  being 

the  Hebrew  form  of  the  Greek  lacchus,  and  Roman  Bacchus. 

/^    The  division   of   the    pound    of    account    into    twenty 

parts,     and    each    of    these    into    twelve,    was    in     this 

*  The  profits  of  this  coinage  are  shown  in  Ending,  ii,  p.  67. 

^  Eliding,  ii,  p.  74. 

^  The  second  massacre  of  the  Jews  was  in  1264. 


reign  extended  to  the  pound  weiglit^  used  for  the  assize 
of  bread.  Still  more  strangely  it  ^Yas  imitated  in  the  sub- 
divisions of  the  agrarian  acre.  By  the  Act  51  Henry  III, 
(1266)  it  was  provided^  aniong'other  things^  that  ''when 
a  quarter  of  wheat  is  12d.  per  quarter,  then  wastel 
bread  of  a  farthing  shall  weigh  £6  16s. ;"  by  which  we 
suppose  was  meant  64- pounds  weight.^  A  similar  enact- 
ment was  made  as  to  acres.  The  acre  was  divided  into 
160  pence,  or  320  halfpence,  or  640  farthings,  so  that  it- 
tallied  with  the  subdivisions  of  the  mark  of  account.^ 
Thus  denariatus  terrse  (a  penny  of  land)  meant  a  rod  or 
perch,  for  the  perch  was  the  160th  part  of  an  acre^  as  the 
penny  was  the  160th  part  of  a  mark.  So  the  obolus,  or 
half-penny,  of  land  meant  half  a  perch,  and  the  quadrante, 
or  farthing,  of  land,  meant  a  quarter  of  a  perch,  or  4^ 
square  feet.  The  expression  "  40  perches  of  candles " 
quoted  in  Anderson's  "History  of  Commerce"  (i,  p.  178), and 
the  use  of  "shillings''  for  ounces  in  the  mint  accounts 
of  Henry  III,  are  puzzling."''  rThis  application  of  the 
divisions  of  moneys  to  weights  and  measures  was  not 
peculiar  to  England.  It  is  to  be  found  in  all  the  king- 
doms which  grew  up  from  Eoman  provinces  ;' for  the 
custom  is  as  ancient  as  the  Empire  itself  J  Wine  measures 
were  based  on  the  Eoman  ace,  which  was  the  integer,  and 
consisted  of  twelve  cyathi.  Thus  a  cup  of  two  cyathi, 
was  called  a  sextans,  three  cyathi  a  triens,  four  cyathi,  a 
quadrans,  etc.,  after  the  names  of  Eoman  coins.^ 

'  Martin  Folkes'  "  Table  of  English  Silver  Coins  "  ;  Harris  on  Coins, 
i,  p.  51. 

-  "  Chronicon  Preciosum,"  p.  40. 

'  Ending,  i,  p.  179.  The  term  "  shilling  "  appears  to  have  been  also 
used  in  the  mint  accounts  of  this  reign  for  an  ounce  weight  (Fleetwood, 
p.  23  ;  Ending,  i,  p.  179,  etc.).  The  origin  of  this  practice  is  obscure. 
Twelve  sterlings  (value  one  shilling)  weighed  less  than  half  an  ounce, 
so  it  could  not  have  been  derived  from  this  analogy.  Perhaps  it  was 
due  to  the  use  of  tin  or  albatapennies,  of  wliich  twelve  may  have  roughly 
weighed  an  ounce. 

*  Adams,  p.  396.     The  custom  is  accounted  for  by  M.  de  Vienne. 


Many  modern  economists  and  writers  on  money  have 
argued  that  because  by  this  law  a  £  meant  a  pound 
weight,  as  applied  to  bread,  therefore  it  meant  a  pound 
weight  of  silver  as  applied  to  coins  ;  that  because  an  s 
meant  the  twentieth  of  a  pound  weight  as  applied  to 
bread,  therefore  it  meant  the  twentieth  of  the  pound 
weight  of  silver  as  applied  to  coins  ;  and  that  as  a  d 
meant  the  two-hundred-and-fortieth  part  of  a  pound 
weight  as  applied  to  bread,  it  meant  the  two-hundred-and- 
fortieth  part  of  a  pound  weight  of  silver  as  applied  to 
coins.  This  mode  of  reasoning,  if  applied  to  the  sub- 
divisions of  the  acre,  would  lead  to  very  startling  results. 
For  example,  because  by  law  a  mark  meant  the  whole 
and  a  penny  the  one-hundred-and-sixtieth  part  of  an  acre, 
therefore  when  applied  to  coins  the  mark  meant  an  acre 
of  silver,  and  the  penny  a  perch  of  that  metal  ! 

Another  fallacy  of  money — one  of  practical  importance 
at  the  present  time — derives  its  origin  from  the  monetary 
issues  of  this  period.  Jevons,  in  his  "  Money  and  Ex- 
change," avers  that  the  "  standard "  of  England,  from 
the  reign  of  the  Plantag-enets  to  that  of  the  House  of 
Brunswick,  was  silver,  and  afterwards  gold.  This  is  one 
of  a  host  of  modern  sophistries  which  have  sprung  from 
the  Act  of  1666,  and  which  no  one  before  that  period 
ever  stumbled  upon.  It  will  be  found  in  Harris's  ''  Essays 
on  Money  and  Coins,"  printed  in  1757,  and  possibly  in 
somewhat  older  books,  although  neither  so  old  as  the 
Dutch  prototype  of  the  Act  of  18  Charles  II,  nor  as  that 
story  of  the  disputative  knights  and  the  shield,  which  on 
the  one  side  was  of  yellow  metal  and  the  other  of  Avhite. 
In  the  case  of  money,  the  shield  was  neither  of  one  metal 
nor  the  other.  The  term  standard,  as  here  used,  can 
only  mean  measure,  and  neither  gold  nor  silver  metal  was 
ever  the  measure  of  value  in  England  until  1666,  while 
since  that  date  it  has  been  such  only  to  a  limited  extent^ 
and  under  the  operation  of  that  Act  as  affected  by  sub- 
sequent  legislation.      Down  to   1666  the  ''standard''   of 


England  was  the  whole  number  of  £.  s.  d.  in  the  kingdom, 
whether  of  gold,  silver,  tin,  copper,  or  leather,  and  the 
whole  number  of  £.  s.  d.  was  whatever  the  combined 
coinages  of  Basileus,  king,  barons,  and  prelates  happened 
to  make  it.  In  the  course  of  this  history  many  instances 
have  been  given  when  the  king  altered  the  measure  or 
*'  standard  "  of  value  by  simple  decree,  and  without 
increasing  or  diminishing  the  quantity  of  either  gold  or 
silver — an  irrefi'agable  proof  that  the  standard  was  not 
either  of  those  metals,  nor  any  other  metal,  but  merely 
the  whole  number  of  £.  s.  d.,  whether  coined  or  existing 
by  the  king's  will.  Had  either  gold  or  silver  been  the 
standard  of  value,  that  standard  would  have  been  beyond 
the  power  either  of  Basileus,  pope,  or  king  to  alter.  It 
needs  but  a  cursory  perusal  of  the  annals  of  the  time  to  be 
convinced  that  such  was  not  the  case,  and  that,  in  fact, 
gold  and  silver  metal  had  very  much  less  to  do  with 
measuring  value  than  the  imperial  and  royal  constitutions 
and  edicts. 

Edward  I,  Longshanks,  found  the  coinage  of  England 
in  great  confusion  and  very  corrupt.  The  sterlings  of 
Henry  III,  badly  executed,  and  so  much  worn  and  rounded 
or  clipped  that  they  contained  but  half  their  original 
weight  of  silver ;  the  base  silver  coins  of  the  nobles  and 
ecclesiastics,  which  had  in  great  degree  replaced  them  in 
the  circulation  ;  the  gold  besants  and  maravedis,  which  the 
Jews  and  goldsmiths  hoarded  for  export  ;  and  the  nu- 
merous foreign  silver  coins  which  had  crept  into  the 
circulation,  combined  to  form  a  melange  of  money  which 
was  impossible  to  replace  and  troublesome  to  improve. 
Before  making  any  efforts  in  this  direction,  the  king 
commenced  to  fill  his  treasury  by  robbing  the  Jews  and 
the  goldsmiths,^  putting  great  numbers  of  the  former  to 
a  cruel  death,  and  throwing  the  latter  into  prison.  In 
the  reign  of  Edward  III,  there  were  few  or  no  Jews  left 
to  kill,  so  the  king  robbed  the  Lombards  ;  in  that  of 
Charles  I.  there  were  no  Lombards,  so  the  king  robbed 


the  goldsmiths.  Edward  Longshanks'  apology  for  slaying 
the  Jews  was  that  they  circulated  base  money  ;  but^  in 
fact,  everybody  did  this,  including  the  king  himself,  for 
there  was  at  one  period  practically  little  other  money  in 
circulation.  Their  real  crime  was  the  hoai'ding  of  gold, 
which  the  king  coveted. 

Edward's  raid  upon  the  Jews  and  goldsmiths  was 
made  in  1279,  the  eighth  year  of  his  reign.  As  a  make- 
weight to  this  transaction,  he  affected  great  concern  for 
the  purity  of  the  silver  coins  purchased  with  this  innocent 
blood.  In  the  ninth  or  tenth  year  of  his  reign,  he 
ordered  the  barons  of  the  exchequer  to  ''  open'the  boxes  of 
the  assay  of  London  and  Canterbury,  and  to  make  the  assay 
in  such  a  manner  as  the  king's  council  were  wont  to  do.'^ 
Nothing  is  said  in  these  instructions  about  the  base  coins 
minted  at  St.  Albans,  nor  the  coinage  of  tin  in  Devon 
and  Cornwall,  nor  the  issue  of  leather  moneys  at  Conway, 
Caernarvon,  and  Beaumaris,  nor  the  pollards  and  crock- 
ards  valued  in  other  royal  edicts,  nor  the  light  coins, 
called  from  their  devices  mitres  and  lions,  nor  the 
cocodones,    rosaries,    stepings    and    scaldings,"    nor    the 

'  three  sorts  of  copper  coins  which  this  king  issued  after 
cunningly  plating  or  washing  them  with  silver.  Lowdnes, 
with  some  intemperateness  attributes  to   this  reign  "  the 

,  most  remai'kable  deceits  and  corruptions  found  in  ancient 
records  to  have  been  committed  upon  coins  of  the  king- 
dom." Nothing  is  said  of  these  matters  in  Edward's 
instructions  concerning  a  trial  of  the  pix  ;  and  nothing  is 
said  of  them   in   modern  numismatic  works.^      Yet  these 

.  corruptions   of    money  have   the   highest    historic   value. 

I  Just,  as  in  after  times,  the  New  England  shilling  first 
announced  the  stern  resolution  of  her  people  to  be  free, 
and  the  "  Continental  "  note  proclaimed  and  asserted  that 

'  Madox,  i,  p.  291. 
-  Fleetwood,  pp.  39,  47. 

^  For  leather  issues  of  this  reign,  consult  Ruding,   ii,  p.   130,  and 
,  *  Money  and  Civilisation,"  p.  64. 


freedom,  so  did  the  leather  notes  and  base  coins  of 
Edward's  reign  mark  the  parting  of  that  mighty  cable 
which  held  the  province  of  Britain  to  the  sinking  ship  of 
the  Empire.  The  laws  of  politics,  like  those  of  pathology,. 
are  not  gained  by  study  of  the  healthy  or  the  normal,. 
but  by  observing  the  diseased  and  the  abnormal. 

In  1289  an  indented  trial-piece  of  ''old  sterling" 
(0*925  fine)  was  ordered  to  be  lodged  in  the  exchequer,, 
and  "  every  pound  weight  troy  was  to  he  shorn  at  twenty 
shillings  and  three  pence,  according  to  which  the  value  of 
the  silver  in  the  coin  was  one  shilling  and  eightpence  farth- 
ing an  ounce. '^  So  says  Lowdnes  (p.  34),  citing  the  Red 
Book  of  the  Exchequer,  but  this  citation  o.nly  conveys  part  of 
the  truth,  the  remainder  being  supplied  by  Dr.  Ruding.. 
This  conscientious  author  states,  with  reference  to  sterling 
coins,  that  from  the  Conquest  down  to  the  year  1527,  the 
royal  mints  of  England  bought  bullion  by  the  pound  troy 
(5,760  grains),  and  sold  it  by  the  pound  tower  (5,400' 
grains)  ;  so  that  even  when  the  buying  and  selling  price 
was  the  same,  there  remained  to  the  crown  a  profit  of  about 
7  per  cent.^  The  weight  of  Edward's  sterling  pennies, 
many  of  which,  in  a  perfect  state  of  preservation,  are  still 
extant,  corroborate  this  statement.  If  we  assume  with 
the  Eed  Book  that  Edward  paid  243  sterling  pence  per 
pound  troy  for  stei'ling  silver  bullion — which  is  doubtful, 
for  there  were  probably  deductions  made  from  this  price 
to  cover  the  cost  of  coinage — the  coins  prove  that  he  sold 
it  at  260  pence  per  troy  pound,  or,  Avhich  is  the  same- 
thing,  280  pence  per  tower  pound.  According  to  Keary's 
assay's, the  extant  sterling  pennies  weigh  22^  grains,  eleven- 
twelfths  fine,  equal  to  about  20|  grains  net ;  but  these- 
are  exceptionally  heavy  specimens. 

In  the  same  year  (1289),  says  the  Black  Book,  Edward 
sent  for  foreign  moneyers,  to  teach  him  how  to  make    and 

^  The  statute  of  the  Pillory  and  Tumbrel  and  o£  the  Assize  of 
Bread  and  Ale,  51  Henry  III  (1266),  provides  punishment  for  those 
"  that  sell  by  one  measure  and  buy  by  another  " — a  proof  that  the  royal 
example  had  become  contagious. 


orge  moneys.      Forging  here  means  simply  striking.      It 
loes  not  relate  to  the  forged  coins  which  were  current  in 
his  reign,  and  which  Edward's  apologists  imputed  to  the 
oreigners   and  the  Jews,   but  which^   it   is    much    to  be 
eared,  were  made  with  the  connivance  and  for  the  profit 
)f  that  ingenious  prince.      However,  the  Jews  suffered  for 
he    forgeries    all   the    same,    for   in   the   very   next  year 
Edward  plundered  and  banished  the  remainder  of  them 
rem  the  kingdom.^      In  1298  (27  Edward  I),  it  was  com- 
nauded  'Hhat  all  persons,  of  whatever  country  or  nation, 
nay  safely  bring   to   our  exchanges^  any  sort   or  sum   of 
j-Qod   silver  coins   or   bullion,    which    shall   be  valued  or 
j-educed  by  the  assayers  according  to  the  '  old  standard  ' 
)f  England.       Silver  bullion,  when  assayed  and  stamped 
;,vith   its   value"'   at    our   exchanges,    may  be    used    as  a 
oiedium  of  barter — that  is  to  say,  as  money .^'      This  was 
dmilar  to  a  Spanish- American  regulation  of  the  sixteenth 
:entury,^  and  it  proved  quite  as  impracticable  and  futile. 
It  was  also  provided  by  27  Edward   I,  "  that   no   bullion 
ishall   be    exported    out    of    the    country   without    special 
license."      This  prohibition   was  repeated   by  Edward  II, 
in  1307,  thus  implying  that  it  had  meanwhile  been  success- 
fully evaded.      This,  and  some  other  acts  of  the  Planta- 
genets,  which   encroached  upon  the  imperial  prerogatives 
of  Rome,   must   be   recognised   as   efforts  on  the  part  of 
these  kings   of  England  to  throw  off  their  allegiance   to 
the  Empire.      But  it  was  not  yet  thrown  off  entirely.      In 
1299    (28    Edward  I),  it  was  provided   ''that   silver  plate 
shall  be   of  no   worse   standard   than   coins.      Gold  plate 
shall  be  no  worse  than  the   '  touch  '    of  Paris.      All  plate 
shall   be   assayed   by    wardens  of  the  craft,   and  marked 
with   a    leopard's    head.       The    wardens    shall    visit    the 

'  See  forgery,  confession,  and  pardon  of  Sir  William  Thurington,  in 
reign  of  Edward  YI. 

-  OflBces  in  the  mint  for  exchanging  coins  (Madox,  i,  p.  291). 

^  This  could  only  mean  the  value  with  reference  to  gold,  which  the 
coins  of  the  Basileus  still  imposed. 

*  "Money  and  Civilisation,"  pp.  17,  78,  146. 


goldsmitlis'  sliops,  and  confiscate  all  plate  of  a  lower 
standard."  This  Tvas  a  new  exercise  of  royal  authority. 
With  regard  to  the  pollards,  crockards,  and  other  base 
coins  of  the  reign^  Dr.  Ending  assumes  (apparently  be- 
cause they  were  base,  or  because  their  coinage  does  not 
appear  to  be  provided  for  in  the  laws  or  mint  indentures) 
that  they  were  of  foreign  fabrication  and  surreptitious 
circulation  ;  but  this  does  not  follow.  Base  issues  were 
the  rule,  not  the  exception^  of  this  reign.  It  is  mere 
prejudice  to  heap  them  upon  Phillip  le  Bel  and  other 
French  kings,  and  omit  them  from  the  records  of  the 
English  monarchy.  Base  coins  were  quite  as  common  in 
England  as  in  France  ;  they  were  due  to  similar  circum- 
stances ;  they  were  attended  by  similar  social  phenomena  ; 
they  had  similar  results;  and  no  good  can  come  of  their 
suppression,  concealment,  or  false  ascription  by  modern 
historians.  Pollards  and  crockards  appeared  in  the  circula- 
tion so  early  as  1280.  In  1303  (32  Edward  I)  the  custodes 
of  the  ordinance  for  the  money  at  Ipswich  were  charged 
upon  the  Exchequer  Eolls  with  £14  4.5.  lie?,  for  pollards  and 
crockards.^  If  these  were  foreign  and  unlawful  coins  it 
is  difficult  to  account  for  their  use  in  the  royal  treasure 
and  their  appearance  and  recognition  in  the  royal  accounts 
In  2  Edward  II,  there  is  an  entry  of  a  relief  granted  to  the 
kinof's  sheriffs  and  bailiffs  who  had  received  these  coins 
at  a  penny  each,  which  ''  by  the  king's  proclamation  were 
fallen  from  a  penny  to  a  half-penny."  "  Does  this  lool; 
like  a  reference  to  foreign  or  discredited  coins  ?  Tht 
king's  officers  are  first  required  to  receive  them  at  a  peun} 
and  afterwards  at  a  half-penny  each,  and  royal  relief  is 
o-ranted  to  them  for  such  of  this  class  of  coins  as  hat 
accumulated  in  their  hands  during  the  royal  alteration  ir 
their  legal  value.  That  they  were  m  use  during  the  whole 
of  the  reign  of  Edward  I,  and  part  of  that  of  his  successoi 
is  of  itself  almost  sufficient  proof  of  their  legality.  Sii 
MathewHale  says  that  they  were  decried  in  1300  (29  Ed.  I) 
1  Mados,  i,  p.  294.  -  Ibid.,  i,  p.  294 

EAKLT    PLANTAGENET    MONETST^""  ""       253 

lit  is  possible  that  this  was  the  date  when  they  were  lowered 
by  pi'oclamation,  but  the  entries  above  quoted  prove  that 
they  actually  continued  in  use  for  years  afterward.  As  to 
their  omission  from  the  laws  and  mint  indentures,  there 
are  no  such  instruments  extant.  With  a  fragmentary  and 
unimportant  exception,  all  instruments  relating  to  the 
coinage  previous  to  18  Edward  III,  if  an^^  existed  (which 
is  doubtful),  have  been  lost  or  destroyed. 

The  extant  sterlings  ascribed  to  the  first  and  second 
Edwards  are  not  distinguishable  one  from  the  other. 
Numismatists  assign  those  with  the  name  composed  of 
the  fewest  number  of  letters,  as  "  Edw.,^'  to  Edward  I  ; 
those  with  more  lettei-s,  as  "  Edwa,^'  to  Edward  II ;  and 
those  with  the  full  name,  "  Edwardus,"  to  Edward  III. 
This  classification  is  attributed  to  Archbishop  Sharpe,  a 
numismatist  of  the  last  century,  whose  reasons  for  its 
adoption  are,  however,  far  from  convincing.^  In  respect 
of  the  groats.  Bishop  Sharpe's  capricious  arrangement 
was  as  capriciously  reversed,  for  there  the  full-spelt 
"  Edwards  "  are  ascribed  to  Edward  I,  and  the  abbre- 
viated   Edwards  to   his   successor.      For  the  reason  that 

;  Lowndes'  citation  from  the  Red  Book  merely  relates  to 
the  buying  price  of  silver  at  the  exchequer,  and  as  there  is 

'  no  certainty  that  any  of  the  extant  coins  were  struck  by 
Edward  I,  and,  finally,  because  it  is  incredible,  in  such  a  con- 

I  dition  of  society  as  existed  during  this  reign,  that  sterlings 
should  have  remained  in  a  circulation  filled  with  tin,  copper, 
and  leather  coins,  we  should  deem  it  quite  likely  that  no 
sterlings  at  all  were  issued  during  this  reign  were  it  not  for 
a  circumstance  recorded  by  Bishop  Fleetwood,  namely,  that 
Edward's  sterlings  were  valued  at  the  time  at  two,  three,  or 
four  pence,  or  sterlings,  each — a  custom  quite  common,  both 

•  in  England  and  France,  during  the  whole  period  from 
the  thirteenth   to    the  fifteenth  centuries,  but  commonly 

'  Euding,  ii,  p.  123  ;  from  "  Bib.  Top.  Brit.,"  No.  xxxv,  p.  25.     Per 
contra,  see  Leake,  p.  8,  and  Folkes. 


ignored    or   suppressed   by  modern  writers   on    the    sul^' 

Among  his  other  issues  Edward  struck  silver  coin 
weighing  80,  85,  92,  116,  and  138  grains  each,  whic' 
are  regarded  by  various  writers  as  groats,  shillings 
medals,  etc.,  but  which  might  have  passed  as  half-marki 
•or  even  marks,  for  all  that  can  be  learnt  from  the  fe^ 
recoi'ds  now  left  of  his  numerous  issues  and  their  capriciou 
valuations.  The  whole  sum  of  money  coined  during  thi 
reign  is  estimated  by  Dr.  Ruding  at  less  than  £16,000,  bi3 
as  this  calculation  leaves  out  of  view  the  enhanced  lesrs 
valuation  of  the  sterlings,  it  is  of  little  worth."  Th 
native  mines  produced  some  small  amount  of  silver 
this  reign.  Those  of  Martinstowe,  in  Devonshire,  yielde 
S701bs.  weight  of  silver  in  1294,  5211bs.  in  1295,  an 
704  lbs.  in  1296,  after  which  time  they  seem  to  hav 
been  abandoned  as  unprofitable.^  An  assay  of  silve 
from  the  mine  of  Byrlande,  in  Devon,  was  made  in  2 
Edward  I.*  The  assumption  of  control  over  the  min^ 
which  the  i-endition  of  these  accounts  imply,  was  also 
new  exercise  of  royal  authority.  The  system  of  £.  s. 
remained  unchanged,  but  what  constituted  a  pound 
account  was  now  quite  within  the  king^s  newly-assume 
powers  to  determine  at  pleasure.  The  king's  prerogati^ 
to  raise  or  lower  moneys,  or  to  enhance  or  diminish  the 
value,  or  to  reduce  them  to  bullion — a  prerogative  whit 
had  only  been  assumed  by  Henry  II,  when  the  sacre 
empire  drew  to  its  close,  and  was  only  asserted  after 
had  expired — developed  during  the  course  of  Edward 
reign  into  a  very  practical  form. 

•  Fleetwood,  pp.  34,  35,  39,  etc.,  and  "  Present  State  of  England." 
-  Consult  Humphreys,  p.  140  ;  Sir  M.  Hale  in  Davis'  Reports, 

1674,  p.  18  ;  Drier's  Rep.,  7  Ed.  VI,  fol.  82  ;  Madox,  i,  p.  294 ;  "  Mo: 
and  Civilisation,"  p.  65 ;  Ruding,  ii,  p.  129. 
3  Jacob,  "  Hist.  Prec.  Met,"  Phil,  ed.,  p.  195. 

♦  Madox,  i,  p.  291. 



i  Ko  mint  indentures  prior  to  Edward  I — Xo  statutes  of  any  kind  pre- 
vious to  Magna  Ciiarta — Sudden  beginning  of  frequent  monetary 
changes  in  the  reign  of  Edward  II — Significance  of  this  movement — 
'proo'ressive  assumption  of  regalian  rights — Lowering  of  pollards  and 
crockards — Interdiction  of  commerce  in  coins  and  bullion— Lowerings  of 
'sterlings— Establishment  of  a  maximum— Coinage  of  base  money  by  the 
ikiug — His  death — Accession  of  Edward  III — New  monetary  ordinances 
—Black  money — Mercantile  system — Tin  money — Review  of  the  gold 
question — The  maravedi  of  Henry  III — Preparation  of  Edward  III,  to 
issue  gold  coins — Permission  from  the  emperor — Convention  with  Flan- 
dei-s — Authority  of  parliament — Issue  of  the  double  florin — Its  imme- 
diate retirement — Fresh  preparations — Issue  of  the  gold  noble  or  half 
mark — Its  great  significance. 

]VrO  written  annals  so  plainly  mark  the  steps  by  which 
■^^  England  gradually  developed  from  the  provincial 
to  the  national  phase  of  its  existence  as  those  which  are 
stamped  upon  the  coinages  of  the  second  and  third  Edward. 
Before  describing    these  issues,  one   or   two    observations 

^are  necessary. 

I  With  the  exception  of  the  statute  28  Edward  I. 
already  cited,  not  a  single  indenture  of  the  mint,  from 
1066  to  13-i6,  is  extant  at  the  present  day,  nor  is  there 
any  reason  to  suppose  that  any  ever  existed.  If  negative 
evidence  were  admissible  in  an  enquiry  of  the  present 
kind,  this  fact  would  be  conclusive.  It  furnishes  the 
inference  tbat,  down  to  the  era  of  the  Plantagenets,  the 
princes  of  England  did  not  enjoy  control  of  the  coinage, 
and  had  neither  occasion  nor  authority  to  prescribe  its 
regulations.  The  continued  coinage  and  circulation  of 
the  gold  solidus  by  the  Basileus,  its  recognition  by  the 
Latin  pontificate,  and  the  prescriptive  ratio  of  12  silver  for 


1  gold,  rendered  the  coinage  of  silver  by  the  king  a  mer 
perfunctory  act.  The  silver  penny  coined  by  Christiai 
princes  had  to  be  of  the  same  weight  as  the  gold  shilling' 
coined  by  the  Basileus.  AVhen  the  penny  failed  to  con 
form  to  this  rule,  it  failed  to  circulate  ;  and  the  sacrei 
college  had  the  power  to  seal  the  prejudices  of  the  publi 
with  its  official  condemnation  of  the  heretical  coin.  Bu 
no  sooner  was  the  power  of  the  Basileus  extinguishe^ 
than  all  this  began  to  change;  and  every  prince  o 
Christendom  stretched  out  his  hands  to  grasp  the  covete^ 
prerogative  of  coinage.  The  Gothic  and  Saxon  princes 
as  usual,  were  the  foremost.  It  was  a  Gothic  prince  c 
Leon  who,  next  after  the  emperor  Frederic,  struck  th 
first  Christian  coin  of  gold,  and  a  Gothic  prince  c 
Denmark  who  first  openly  repudiated  the  suzerainty  c 
pontifical  Eome.'  It  need  hardly  be  added  that  in  sue 
a  cause  the  Saxon  kings  of  England  were  not  behiu' 
their  compeers.  Gold  coinage  began  with  Henry  III 
and  mint  indentures  with  Edward  III. 

Not  only  are  there  no  mint  indentures  before  the  foui 
teenth  century,  there  are  no  national  laws  of  any  kin 
previous  to  the  fall  of  Constantinople.  The  earliest  entr 
in  the  Statutes  at  Large  is  an  altered  copy  of  Magn 
Charta,  not  drawn  from  any  official  registry,  but  fishe 
out  of  an  antiquarian  collection.  Hardly  more  creditabl 
is  the  appearance  of  the  ordinances  which  follow  it  dow 
to  the  reign  of  Edward  III."  They  have  all  the  appea: 
ance  of  having  been  "restored"  in  modern  times. 
the  kings  of  England  previous  to  Edward  III  were  n( 
vassals,  why  have  we  none  of  their  ordinances  ?  and  if  tt 
pope  or  the  Emperor  was  not  their  suzerain,  why  do  th 
marks  of  the  latter's  superior  authority  appear  in  this,  i 
they  do  in  every  kind  of  literary  record,  except,  indee( 
upon  the  pages  of  recently  written  history  ? 

'  See  letter  of  Waldemar  in  the  preface  to   Boulainvillier's  "  Life 

2  These  ordinances  are  not  in  the  English,  hut  the  Eoman  language. 


,       However,  it  is  not  alone  upon  literary  evidence  that  tlie 
aro-ument  relies  ;  it  stands  also  upon  the  far  more  certain 
evidence  of  coins  and  the  nummulary  grammar.      Many 
of    these  evidences   have  been   already  adduced.      Those 
which  will  now  be  furnished  relate  chiefly  to  the  sudden 
and  frequent  alterations  of  money  which  began  after  the 
,  fall  of    Constantinople,  and  culminated  in   the  reign    of 
Edward  III.      There  are,  indeed,   many  modern  writers 
,  who  either  affirm  or  assume  that  no  such  alterations  took 
:  place  ;  but  the  evidence  on  the  subject  is  overwhelming. 
From  the  accession  of  Edward  I,  to  the  coinage   of  gold 
,  by  Edward  III,   is  a  period  which  corresponds  with  the 
I  reigns  of  Philip   le    Hardie,   Philip  le  Bel,   Louis  Hutin, 
;  Philip  le  Long,  Charles  le  Beau,  and  Philip  Valois,  when.. 
,  we    are    taught,    that    hundreds,    almost    thousands,    of 
alterations  were  made  in  the  monetary  system  of  France, 
I  of  which  country  apart  still  remained  subject  to  the  kings 
of  England.      In   1346  (reign  of  Philip  Valois)  there  are 
recorded  no  less  than  ten  alterations  of  the  ratio  between 
gold  and  silver  in  the  French  coinage.      As  to  the  debase- 
ments and  degradations  of  Philip  le  Bel,   every  historical 
;  work  is  full  of  them.      Yet  all  this  time,  while  a  furious 
I  storm  of  monetary  changes  and  financial  shifts  was  raging 
;  across  the  Channel,  and  whirling  into  every  nook  and  corner 
!  of  the  English  possessions  in  France,  the  political   econo- 
mists assure  us  that  England  lay  in  the  midst  of  a  dead 
I  calm,  and  that  nothing  of  the  sort  happened  there.      How 
utterly  unfounded  is  the  inference   upon  which  they  rest 
so  confidently  will  be  seen  when  the  positive  evidence  of 
the  extant  coins  is  unfolded. 

The  wave  of  monetary  alterations  which  distinguishes 
this  period  began  in  Gothic- Spain,  whence  it  flowed  into 
,  France  and  England.  The  changes  which  began  in 
France  Avith  Philip  le  Hardie  and  became  so  numerous 
under  Philip  le  Bel  and  his  successors,  have  rarely  been 
correctly  described  and  never  fully  understood.  Even  Mr. 
Hallam,  one  of  the  ablest  and  most  impartial  of  historical 



writers,  must  have  failed  to  grasp  the  significance 
these  transactions  when  he  stigmatised  them  by  the  coarg 
names  of  fraud  and  robbery.  ''  The  rapacity  of  Philip 
Bel  kept  no  measure  with  the  public.  .  .  .  Dissatisfacti( 
and  even  tumults  arose  in  consequence.  .  .  .  The  film  hd 
now  dropped  from  the  eyes  of  the  people,  and  thes 
adulterations  of  money,  rendered  more  vexatious  by  con 
tinued  re-coinages  of  the  current  pieces,  upon  which 
fee  was  extorted  by  the  moneyers,  showed  in  their  trt 
light  as  mingled  fraud  and  robbery.^'  ^  The  fidelity  of  th 
description  is  discredited  by  Mr.  Hallam  himself,  wl 
elsewhei'e  says,  "  these  changes  seemed  to  have  produce 
no  discontent " — an  admission  that  ill-agrees  with  tl 
imaginary  dissatisfaction  and  tumults  above  set  fort' 
That  the  crux  of  the  situation  is  misunderstood  is  evidei 
from  the  absence  of  all  allusion  to  the  fall  of  the  Empiit 
and  the  recent  acquisition  of  its  coinage  prerogatives 
the  Christian  states  of  the  West. 

If  we  turn  from  Mr.  Hallam's  condemnation  of  Phil 
le  Bel  to  his  approval  of  his  contemporaries,  the  princ< 
of  England,  we  shall,  find  even  less  cause  to  be  satisfie 
with  his  opinions  on  this  subject.  In  the  former  cas 
they  find  some  apology  in  the  defamation  with  Avhich  th 
medigeval  ecclesiastics  pursued  Philip  for  curtailing  the: 
privileges  and  restraining  their  rapacity  ;  in  the  latter, 
is  left  with  the  poor  defence  of  patriotic  partiality.  Saj 
the  historian  :  "  It  was  asserted  in  the  reign  of  Philip 
Bel  as  a  general  truth  that  no  subject  might  coin  silve 
money.  The  right  of  debasing  the  coin  was  also  claime 
by  this  prince,  as  a  choice  flower  of  the  crown. ^'  Whils 
a  little  farther  on  in  the  same  paragraph,  he  says  :  "  N 
subject  ever  enjoyed  the  right  (I  do  not  extend  this  t 
the  fact)  of  coining  silver  in  England  without  the  royj 
stamp  and  superintendence — a  remarkable  proof  of  th 
restraint  in  which  the  feudal  aristocracy  was  always  hel 
in  this  country."  If,  in  fact,  the  nobles  and  ecclesiastics  o 
1  Hallam's  "Middle  Ages,"  chapter  ii. 


England  exercised  the  privilege  of  coining  silver,  as  we 
know  they  did,  it  is  difficult  to  see  wherein  they  were 
under  greater  restraint  than  the  same  classes  elsewhere. 
But  this  is  not  all  ;  Mr.  Hallam's  flourish  goes  farther. 
It  implies  that  the  right  to  coin,  which  he  represents  to 
have  been  so  sadly  abused  by  Philip,  was  more  rightfully 
or  more  justly  exercised  by  his  contemporaries,  the 
English  princes. 

Such  is  not  the  opinion  of  the  earlier  English  writers. 
Our  Matthew  Paris  says  that  the  coins  of  his  own  time 
were  adulterated  and  falsified  beyond  measure.  Holinshed 
(ii,  p.  318)  says  that,  notwithstanding  the  baseness  of  the 
father's  coins,  the  son,  Edward  II,  proclaimed  them  to 
ibe  good  and  current  money.  Stowe  (p.  326)  says  that 
Edward  II,  ordered  that  his  father's  base  coins  should  not 
be  refused  on  pain  of  life  and  limb  ;  and  Carte  prefers  a 
similar  accusation.^  Indeed,  the  text  of  the  proclamation 
(4  Edward  II),  which  contains  this  mandate  is  extant,  to 
justify  the  mediaeval  chroniclers.  Lowndes  (eighteenth 
icentury)  says  that  the  greatest  deceits  and  corruptions 
known  to  history  were  committed  in  the  coinages  of 
Edward  I;  and  Lord  Liverpool — who  wrote  during  the 
present  century — reluctantly  confesses,  in  a  letter  to  the 
king,  the  adulterations  of  money  which  were  inaugurated 
by  the  Plantagenets." 

We  shall  presently  offer  even  better  testimony  than 
the  opinions  of  historians,  namely,  the  evidence  of  the 
coins  themselves.  It  will  then  be  seen,  not  only  that 
England  fully  kept  pace  with  France  in  the  wildest  ex- 
cesses of  a  now  unrestrained  right  to  coin,  but  also  that 
these  excesses,  in  which  Mr.  Hallam  only  perceives  fraud 
and  robbery,  really  constitute  our  most  valuable  proofs 
of  England's  approach  toward  national  autonomy.  They 
are  the  unsteady  steps  of  tutelage,  which  preceded  the 
firm  march  of  an  actual  and  independent  sovereignty. 

1  "  History  England,"  ii,  p.  308. 
,  2  "  Letter  to  the  King,"  chapter  ix. 


The   year  1307    (1   Edward  II),   is  the   most  probabli 
date  when  the  value   of  the  pollards  and  crockards   wai 
lowered  one-half.       In    effect   it    was    decreed   that  tha 
■which  was  yesterday  a  penny,  to-day  shall  be  but  a  half- 
penny,   and   that    which  yesterday    constituted   a   pound 
shall  be  to-day  but  ten  shillings.^      In  the  same  year  wai 
also  enacted  an  explicit  interdict  against  the  expoi'tation 
of    either   coined   money   or   bullion   from    England."       j 
similar  interdict  was  made  in  1326.^       It  does  not  appes 
to  have  occurred  to  the   crown  that  the   Jews,  banishei 
to  the  continent,  had  it  largely  within  their  power  to  pre 
vent  the  shipment  of  foreign  moneys  to  England  by  paying 
for   English  merchandise  with,  bills   of    exchange,  drawi 
against    foreign    merchandise  shipped    to    England.      In 
this   way   they   could,    and  doubtless    did,  intercept  and 
prevent  the  shipment  to  that  country  of  some  of  the  coins 
or  bullion  which  would  otherwise   have  been  remitted  to 
it  to  pay  for  its  exports.      Many  people,  even  at  the  pre- 
sent day,  similarly  fail  to  comprehend  the  operation  of  ex- 
change.     Their  view  is  that  unless  every  nation  makes  its 
money  of  the  same  material  as  other  nations,  it  will  place 
itself  in  the  position  of  being  unable  to  pay  its   foreign 
debts.      A  lesson  from  practical  bill-drawers  would  greatly 
tend  to  alleviate  such  an  apprehension. 

In  1810  the  Commons  petitioned,  and  represented  to  the 
king  that  the  coins  were  depreciated  (meaning  probably, 
not  in  value,  but  in  contents  of  silver)  more  than  one-half. 
Nevertheless,  the  king  made  proclamation  the  same  year 
that  the  coins  should  be  current  at  the  value  they  bore  under 
iEdward  I,  and  that  no  one  should  enhance  the  price  of 
liis  goods  on  that  account.  This  is  the  edict  of  which  Hol- 
inshed,  Stowe,  and  Carte  complain.     Mr.  Jewitt  ^  says  that 

'  Madox  i,  p.  294, 
^  Eggleston,  "  Antiq.,'*  p.  196. 

^  Ruding,  ii,  p.  136.  ] 

■»  Rolls  of  Par.,  i,  app.  p.  444.     Consult  4  Edward  II,  m.  in   12  dors. 

(Ruding,  ii,  p.  133).  ' 

■'  "  Antiq.,"  p.  146. 


]  the  petition  of  the  Commons  set  forth  that  the  coins  (pro- 
bably meaning-  the   old   sterlings)    were  clipped  down   to 
.  one-half.      This  was  very  likely,  because  unless  the  silver 
,  coins  were  cut  down  so  as  not  to  contain  any  more  silver 
than  the  base  coins  of  like  denomination,  they  would  pro- 
bably have  disappeared.      But  this  time  it  could  not  have 
been  the  Jews  who  committed  the  offence,  for  there  were 
no   Jews    now    in    England.       Nor   should   the   Caursini, 
Peruchi,   Scali,    Fiscobaldi,    Ballardi,   Reisardi,    or    other 
.Roman    clans  or   families,  who  filled  their  places  in  the 
English  marts  and  exchanges,  be  suspected,  for  these  were 
all  good   Catholics,  and  therefore  presumably  loyal   sub- 
jects.     Clippers  and   counterfeiters  had  been  condemned 
to  excommunication  by  the  Council  of  the  Lateran  in  1123, 
and  were  subject  by  a  statute — attributed  to  Edward  I — to 
I  the  penalty  for  treason.^  Earth  denounced  such  sacrilegious 
criminals,  and  heaven  forbade  them  to  approach  its  holy 
precincts.      We   are  therefore   at    a  loss    to   look   for  the 
transgressor,  unless,  indeed,  he   was  to   be  found  in  the 
iToyal  sanctuary  itself.      It  may  have  been  with  the  object 
to  more   effectually  keep  his  base  money  afloat   that  the 
,king,    by   proclamation    in    1310,   forbade,    under  heavy 
penalties,  the  importation  of  false  moneys.      If  these  false 
moneys  were  close  imitations  of  the  king's  base  coins,  and 
.contained  the  same  proportion  of   fine  silver,  the  practice 
of  importing  them   infers  that  prices  had  not  risen  to  the 
level  of  the  debasement. 

In  1311  the  Lords  Ordainers  enacted  that  no  changes 
should  be  made  in  the  value  of  the  coins  without  consent 
of  the  barons  in  pai'liament  assembled.  This  startling 
declaration  amounted  to  a  claim  on  the  part  of  the  nobles 
for  a  share  in  those  regalian  rights  which  the  king  was 
daily  acquiring  from  the  falling  power  of  Constantinople 
:and  Rome,  but  it  was  successfully  resisted  by  Edward,  who, 
in  1321,  repealed  the  ordinance,  at  York.  There  are  no 
records  relating  to  its  operation  in  the  interval.  Accord- 
1  Euding,  ii,  pp.  214-226. 


ing  to  tte  Eoll  of  9  Edward  II,  the  king  commanded Eichard 
Hy wysli,  sheriff  of  Cornwall,  by  writ,  to  pay  on  his  account 
£372  14s.  4d.  to  Antony  di  Pessaigne  of  Janua,  out  ol 
the  profits  of  the  tin  coinage  [coignagio  stagminis)? 
Indeed,  tin  money  and  gold  money  appear  to  have  been 
struck  by  the  Western  princes  at  the  same  time,  and 
owing  to  the  same  parent  event,  the  fall  of  the  Basileus. 
There  being  then  a  great  deal  of  false  money  in  circula- 
tion, a  writ  was  issued  in  1318  to  the  barons  of  the 
exchequer,  commanding  them  to  order  the  sheriffs  of 
England  to  make  proclamation  that  ''  no  man  should 
import  into  the  realm  clipped'  money  or  foreign  counter- 
feit money,  under  great  penalties,  and  that  such  persons 
as  had  any  dipt  money  in  their  hands,  should  bore  it 
through  in  the  middle,  and  bring  it  to  the  king's  cam- 
bium to  be  re- coined."  ~  This  proclamation  must  have 
had  some  other  than  its  professed  object,  for  in  the, 
same  year  Edward  complained  to  Philip  le  Bel  of  France 
that  ^'merchants  were  not  permitted  to  bring  any  kind  of 
money  out  of  France  into  England,  for  that  it  was  taken 
from  them  by  searchers."  AVhen  it  is  remembered  that 
the  coins  of  Philip  le  Bel  were  greatly  debased  and  over- 
valued, it  appears  more  likely  that  the  clipped  and 
"  foreign  "  counterfeit  coins  mentioned  in  the  proclama- 
tion were  fabricated  in  England.  This  view  finds  further 
corroboration  in  the  fact  that,  in  1318,  "an  assay  was 
made  of  the  money  minted  in  the  exchanges  of  Londoi 
and  Canterbury  ...  to  wit,  of  £40,730  minted  in  the  saidH 
exchanges  within  the  said  time''  (about  two  years),  and 
''upon  this  assay  it  was  found  that  the  said  money  wasi 
too  weak  and  of  a  greater  alloy  than  it  ought  to  have 
been  by  £258  5^.  lOcl."  ^  '  i 

The  classification    of  bullion  into  domestic  and  foreign  ' 
first  occurs  in  the  reign  of  Edward  II,  and  was  continued 

1  Madox,  i,  p.  386. 

-  Ibid.,  i,  p.  294 ;  "  Statutes  at  Large,"  vol.  i. 

3  Madox,  i,  p.  291. 


(Jiin  that  of  Edward  III,  after  which  no  traces  of  it  appear 
••in  the  mint  records.     Nature  does  not  admit  of  such  classi- 
fication, because  all  bullion  of  the  like   metal  and   when 
refined  is  alike.      Domestic  metal  cannot  be  distinguished 
:  from    foreign.      It  was    clearly  impracticable   to    prevent 
foreign  bullion  from  being  imported,  indeed,  the  complaint 
of  the  times  was  that  foreign  clipped  and  counterfeit  coins 
were  imported,  and  if  practically  coins  conld  be  imported, 
so    also      could     bullion.        Nor    was    it    tho    policy    of 
the    crown  to    prevent   the    importation    of    bullion;    on 
the  contrary,  it  did  everything  in  its   power  to   promote 
such     importation.        It    is    therefore     difiicult     to     see 
what   object    was    aimed   at     by   classifying   silver    into 
eismarinuni  and  transmarinum^  except    a   further    asser- 
tion of  that  newly-acquired  imperial  prerogative  of  entire 
control  over    the    coinage,  and  the    materials   of  coinage, 
which  the  king  had  in  his  mind  and  seemed  determined 
to  proclaim  to  all  the  world.      Whatever  his  plans,  they 
were  defeated  by  the   rebellion   of    his  Avife   Isabella  and 
ithe  nobles  whom  he  had  previously  curbed  and  restrained. 
These,  fleeing  to  France  with  the   infant  son  of  the  king, 
: there  organised   an  expedition,  which  landed  in  England 
;during  the  autumn  of  1326,  defeated  and  captured  the  king, 
.threw  him  into  a  dungeon,  and  there  dispatched  him, 

Edward  III,  was  crowned  January  25th,  1327.      To  the 

numerous  and  sudden  alterations  of  money  which,  like  an 

exhibition  of  firewoi'ks,  celebrate  the  emancipation  of  the 

i  Western  princes  from  the  thraldom  of  Caesar^s  empire,  but 

!  introduced  the  greatest  confusion  into  nummulary  denomi- 

.  nations  and  relations,  England  contributed   an  additional 

element  of  confusion.      At  all  events,  it  was  far  less  com- 

•  iiion   in   other   countries.      This  was  a  marked  difference 

I  between  the  contents  of  a  coin  as  provided  by  law  or  mint 

j  indenture  and  its  actual  contents,  as  found  by  weight  and 

assay,  of    perfect    specimens    still  extant.      For  example, 

the  mint  indenture  of  1345  provided  that  the  pound  tower 

^  Rudinsr. 


of  silver,  0"925  fine,  should  be  coined  into  22|  pennies 
This  would  make  the  gross  weight  of  each  penny  24  grains 
and  the  contents  of  fine  silver  22'2  grains,  whereas  the 
actual  coins  in  good  condition  weigh  but  20  grains  and 
contain  but  18^  grains  of  fine  silver.  Similar  differences 
are  to  be  found  in  other  coins  of  the  period. 

In  choosing  between  the  conflicting  evidences  of  the 
statutes,  the  mint  indentures,  and  the  actual  coins,  the 
author  has  observed  the  following  order  of  preference  : — 
first,  the  actual  coins  ;  second,  the  mint  indentures  ;  third, 
the  Acts  of  Parliament,  which  in  many  instances  were  only 
intended  for  show  or  deception,  and  in  such  cases  were 
practically  a  dead  letter.  Even  in  the  actual  coins  there 
is  room  for  error,  because  they  vary  considerably.  Mr. 
Keary's  weighings  are  those  of  the  heaviest,  and  because 
this  practice  is  regarded  as  misleading,  we  have  not  always 
been  guided  by  that  author.  Among  the  earliest  statutes 
of  the  new  reign  were  those  of  1327,  against  the  importing 
of  light  and  counterfeit  coins,  and  of  1331,  against  the  ex- 
portation of  either  coins  or  bullion.  The  penalty  for  the 
latter  was  at  first  made  death  and  the  forfeiture  of  all  the 
offender's  profit,  but  two  years  afterwards  it  was  lessened 
by  proclamation  to  mere  forfeiture  of  the  money  so' 
attempted  to  be  exported,  and  in  1335  the  Act  was  ex- 
tended to  "  religious  men "  as  well  as  others.  The 
conviction  which  must  enforce  itself  upon  all  persons  in 
authority  that  such  ordinances  can  never  be  practically 
executed,  the  actual  failure  of  similar  ordinances  in  the 
preceding  reign,  and  the  language  and  tone  of  the  present 
ones,  all  combine  to  produce  the  impression  that  the  latter 
were  intended  as  a  cover,  to  account  for  the  melting  down 
of  the  ''  old  sterlings  "  in  the  king's  mints,  and  to  furnish 
an  apology  for  that  emission  of  black  money  which  soon 
afterwards  made  its  appearance,  and  was  probably  fabri- 
cated at  the  king's  behest.  That  he  was  not  above  the 
art  of  issuing  insincere  edicts  is  strikingly  proved  by  his 
proclamation    of    1341,    wherein    he   avows    that    in    his 


previous  Interdict  of  Usury  he  "  dissembled  in  the 
premises  "  and  "  suffered  that  pretended  statute  to  be 
sealed/^  which  he  now  revokes  and  declares  void.^ 

Dr.  Ruding  naively  enquires  if  the  Turouensis  nigri, 
mentioned  in  the  statute  of  1335  as  being  "commonly 
current  in  our  (the  king's)  realm/'  meant  copper  coins 
struck  at  Tours  ?  We  think  not.  There  are  no  proofs 
that  copper  coins  of  Tours  circulated  in  England  at  this 
period,  but  many  proofs  that  English  black  money  did ; 
for  in  the  same  statute  it  was  provided  that  all  manner  of 
black  money  in  circulation  should  cease  to  be  current 
in  one  month's  time  after  it  is  decried."  Yet  but  a  short 
time  afterwards  the  king's  council  in  parliament  at  York 
authorised  new  black  money  to  be  made,  containing  one- 
sixth  part  of  alloy .■'^  In  1338  various  proclamations  were 
made,  which  denote  that  black  money  was  still  in  circu- 
lation, and  in  1339  one  was  made  which  authorised  the 
circulation  of  black  "  turneys "  (Tournois)  in  Ireland.* 
Black  money  was  not  peculiar  to  Edward  III,  but  had 
been  used  by  both  his  father  and  grandfather.  Edward  I, 
(in  1293)  agreed  to  pay  to  the  emperor  Adolphus  300,000 
"  black  livres  tournois,"  and  in  1297  to  certain  nobles 
of  Burgundy  30,000  "small  black  livres  tournois."^ 
To  the  earl  of  Guelders  Edward  promised  to  pay 
100,000  "black  livres  tournois,"^  and  it  is  not  likely 
that  at  this  period  he  would  have  stipulated  to  pay 
so  laro-e  a  sum  in  a  coin  which  he  did  not  himself 

1  "  Statutes  at  Large  "  (Ruding,  ii,  p.  251). 

-  "  All  manner  of  black  money  which  hath  been  commonly  current 
of  late  in  our  realm  "  shall  cease  to  be  current  within  a  month  after  it  is 
decried  ("  Statutes  at  Large,"  9  Edward  III,  1335). 

^  A  great  part  of  this  statute  is  not  printed  in  the  modern  editions  of 
the  "  Statutes  at  Large."  Consult  9  Edward  III  in  Statutes,  folio  ed. 
(1577),  black  letter. 

*  Consult  4  Edward  III,  pt.  ii,  35  dors  (Rymer,  '  Fcedera,"  v,  p.  113). 

'"  Anderson's  "  History  Com.,"'  i,  p.  250;  "  Fadera,"  ii,  p.  778. 

^  Anderson,  i,  p.  251 ;  Eymer's  "  Fcedera,"  ii,  p.  675. 


In  the  royal  ordinance  autTiorising  the  establishment  of 
a  mint  at  Calais,  after  the  capture  o£  that  city  in  1347, 
the  king  (Edward  III,)  commanded  "  white  money  "  to  be 
made  there  similar  to  that  which  was  struck  in  England.^ 
In  ISSi  the  moneyers  of  Aquitain  were  allowed  threepence 
in  the  mark  for  all  money  coined  by  them  for  the  king, 
whether  "  white  or  black,^'  except  gold."  We  repeat  that 
these  black  moneys,  which  the  historians  usually  evince 
much  anxiety  to  keep  out  of  view,  ai-e  really  the  proofs 
of  England's  dawning  independence  ;  for  while  she  re- 
mained a  fief  of  Rome,  and  the  mints  of  the  Basileus 
supplied  her  with  besants,  nobody  was  obliged  to  use 
silver,  aud  the  fabrication  of  black  money  would  have 
brought  the  king  no  profit,  and  therefore  none  was  coined. 
The  coinao-e  of  black  monev  and  the  abrog-ation  of  the 
sacred  besant  mean  the  same  thing — the  refusal  and 
rejection  of  any  further  allegiance  to  the  Empire. 

In  1341  a  great  mass  of  sterling  coins  and  silver-plate 
was  collected  in  London  by  private  parties  for  exportation. 
In  1342  a  similar  event  occurred  at  Boston.'^  It  is  difficult 
to  see  the  motive  for  these  attempts  to  export  silver, 
unless  the  circulation  consisted  of  royal  money  overvalued, 
and  unless  there  was  no  further  use  for  sterlings  and 
silver  bullion  in  the  hands  of  private  owners.  In  1342 
the  king's  rents  in  Guernsey,  Jersey,  Sai-k,  and  Alderney 
were  exacted  in  sterlings,  while  his  payments  were  made 
in  light  coins  worth  but  ten  shillings  in  the  "  pound. ■'^  * 
This  may  have  been  clipped  coins  or  black  money,  of 
which  each  penny  piece  had  but  a  half-penny's  worth  of 
silver  in  it,  and  therefore  the  nominal  "  pound  "  but  ten 
shillings'  worth. 

In  1343  the  council  in  parliament  advised  the  king  to 
issue  what  would  now  be  termed  a  Convention  gold  coin, 
to  be  current,  with    permission  of   the  Flemings,  both  in 

1  Rot.,  France,  22  Edward  III  ra.  19  (Euding,  ii,  p.  182,  n.). 

2  Eot.,  Vase,  28  Edward  III  m.  1  (Ending,  ii,  195). 
^  Euding,  ii,  pp.  150-2.  ■*  Ibid.,  ii,  p.  152. 


Flanders  and  England,  that  no  silver  sliould  be  carried 
out  of  tlie  realm  except  by  noblemen,  and  that  these 
should  be  limited  to  the  carrying  out  of  silver  plate  for 
use  in  their  houses.  The  first  part  of  this  proposal 
introduces  one  of  the  most  important  subjects  connected 
with  the  regalian  rights  of  the  English  crown.  Down  to 
the  year  1204,  or  practically  to  1257,  the  gold  coins  law- 
fully circulating  in  England  had  been  supplied  exclusively 
by  the  Basileus,  and  consisted,  as  before  stated,  of  the 
besant  and  its  fractions.  When  in  that  year  Henry 
resolved  to  invade  the  prerogative  of  the  Sacred  Empire, 
he  struck,  not  a  solidus  nor  a  fraction  of  a  solidus,  but  a 
Moorish  maravedi — a  piece  which  commerce  with  the 
Spanish-Arabians  had  rendered  familiar  to  Englishmen 
under  the  various  names  of  "  maravedi,^'  ''  new  talent,'* 
"  obolus  de  ]Murcia,''  "  gold  penny,''  etc.  The  maravedi 
of  that  period  contained  40  to  43  grains  of  fine  gold  ;  it 
circulated  in  England,  not,  like  the  besant,  by  force  of 
law  and  immemorial  usage,  but  mereh'  because  it  was 
a  justly-minted  and  well-known  coin  of  regular  weight 
and  fineness,  and  preferable  to  the  adulterated  and 
clipped  coins  which  had  made  their  appearance  when 
the  besants  began  to  disappear  in  the  reign  of  John. 
The  maravedi  had  filled  the  circulation  in  continually  in- 
creasing proportions.  Its  low  valuation  in  silver  (10  for 
1)  proves  that  it  had  no  standing  in  the  law.  As  the 
common  circulation  of  the  maravedi  in  England  may 
seem  incredible  to  a  certain  class  of  numismatists,  it  has 
been  deemed  useful  to  bring  together  some  of  the  texts 
in  which  it  is  mentioned.  It  will  be  seen  at  a  glance 
that  its  era  agrees  substantially  with  that  of  the 
Plantagenet  dynasty. 

Year  when 


Eegnal  period. 


23  Henry  II 


5  Richard  I 


17  John 


35  Henry  III 


37  Henry  III 


41  Henry  III 


12  Edward  I 


22  Edward  I 


21  Edward  III 


Table  showing  the  texts  which  mention  the  maravedi,  or  obolus  de 
Murcia,  as  circulating  in  England. 

Madox,  ii,  p.  367,  valued  at  20  sterlings. 
Madox,  i,  p.  278,  valued  at  10  for  1. 
Madox,  ii,  p.  261,  valued  at  21  sterlings. 
Madox,  re  Philip  Lurel. 
Euding,  i,  p.  316,  valued  at  16  sterlings.* 
Weight  41^  grains  fine,  coined  by  the  king,j 

valued  at  20  sterlings. 
Sir  M.  Hale,  in  Davis'  Eeports. 

The  maravedi  was  first  coined  in  Spain^  during  the 
dynasty  of  the  Almoravedis,  hence  its  name.  One  of 
these  coiuSj  struck  in  Murcia^  a.h.  548  (a.d.  1153),' 
during  the  interregnum  between  the  Almoravedi  and 
Almohade  dynasties^  is  called  by  Queipo  a  "  Mourdanish/ 
which  we  are  inclined  to  believe  is  a  misnomer.  This' 
piece,  in  a  very  good  state  of  conservation,  is  now  in  the' 
cabinet  of  Gayanos,  and  weighs  44^  English  grains.  It' 
tallies  in  weight  with  the  siliqua  weight,  or  the  y^  part' 
of  the  Egypto-Roman  pound  of  5,243|  English  grains,^ 
with  the  gold  maravedi,  with  the  silver  dirhem,  and  with 
two  sterling  pennies."  The  true  Mourdanish  should 
rather  be  found  in  the  half-mithcal,  a  specimen  of  which,.' 
struck  during  the  first  years  of  the  Almohade  dynasty,  is 
now  in  the  cabinet  of  Cerda.  This  coin  is  also  published 
by  Queipo,  who  accords  it  its  true  name  the  "  Mourdanish 
of  Murcia,"  and  gives  its  weight  at  34|  grains,  the  state- 
of  conservation  being  very  good.  The  use  of  the  gold' 
mithcal  in  Spain  can  be  traced  back  to  the  eighth  century, 
when  Hachem  I,  settled  upon  his  brother  Suleiman  a  life 
annuity  of  70,000  "  mithcales  or  pesantes  "  as  an  equiva- 

*  From  Henshaw's  translation  o£  Domesday  Book,  vol.  i,  fol.  i.  The 
pence  were  light  ones. 

^  The  siliqua  weight  must  not  be  confused  with  the  siliqua  coin,  which 
weighed  scarcely  more  than  a  third  as  much. 


lent  for  Ms  estates  in  Spain. ^  In  the  tenth  century 
the  mithcal  was  called  by  the  Christians  the  ^'  dobla/' 
probably  in  reference  to  its  being  the  double  of  the  more 
popular  and  better  known  half-mithcal  or  "  Mourdanish."  ^ 
Abd-el-Raman  III,  (912-61)  settled  a  life  annuity  of 
100,000  "  doblas  of  gold  "  upon  Ahmed-ben-Saia  for 
his  capture  and  plunder  of  Tunis.^  The  annual  reve- 
nues of  Alhakem  II,  besides  the  taxes  in  kind,  were 
"  twelve  million  mithcals  of  gold.''  *  The  piece  we  are 
considering  is  therefore  not  the  half-mithcal,  but  the 
maravedi,  and  its  period  is  not  that  of  the  early  but  of 
the  later  caliphs  of  Spain,  the  contemporaries  of  the 

The  weight  of  Henry's  gold  coins  was  43  grains  (0'965 

fine),  equal  to  about  41^  grains  fine.      They  were  probably 

intended  to  weigh  exactly  the  same  as  one  gold  maravedi, 

or  two  silver  sterlings.      These  coins  he  called  "  oboli,'' 

and  ordered  them   to  pass  for  twenty  silver  sterlings,  or 

half-dirhems — a  ratio  apparently  of  10  for  1,  but  really  of 

9  fori,  because  his  sterlings  weighed  less  than  20  grains, 

and  were   only  0'925  fine.      It  is  alleged  that   these  gold 

coins   were   objected   to,  on   commercial  grounds,   by   the 

merchants  of  London.      This  is  hardly  credible,   because 

the    coins    were    really    undervalued.        They    could    be 

:  bought   with  nine  weights  of  pure   silver,   whereas   they 

•  were  worth  twelve,  which  was  the  ratio  of  the  time  in  all 

'  Christian  States.      This  conclusion  is  strengthened  by  the 

jcircumstance  that  these  same   "  oboli,"  after  being  tem- 

'porarily  demonetised,  were   raised,   by  Henry's   command 

!in  1269,  to  24  pence — a  ratio  of  12,  and  that  at  this  ratio 

they  actually  passed  current  without  objection.      As  to 

'  Calcott,  i,  p.  139. 
'     -  The  contents  of  the  dobla  de  la  vanda  in  "  Money  and  Civilisation," 
p.  93,   deduced  from  the   assumption   that  the  castellano  coin  was  as 
I  heavy  as  the  castellano  weight,  are  given  erroneously. 
j  .   »  Calcott,  i,  p.  223. 

-•  ibid.,  i,  p.  249. 


their  mechanical  execution,  the  author  is  able,  from  per- 
sonal examination,  to  declare  that  they  were  far  superior 
to  any  other  coins,  English  or  French,  of  that  day.  The 
only  valid  reason  that  can  be  assigned  for  the  objection 
made  to  them  was  the  superstitious  repugnance  to  accept  i 
gold  coins  not  stamped  with  the  authority  of  the  Sacred 
Empire.  This  repugnance  may  have  been  enhanced  by  * 
the  fear  that  the  coins  would  not  be  currently  accepted  i 
in  England,  or,  if  in  England,  not  in  other  Christian  ! 

Bearing  in  mind  the  example  and  failure  of  Henry  III,  i 
Edward  did  not  venture   to   strike  coins  of  gold  until  he 
had   acquired  that   full   degree  of   sovereignty  which  the 
Basileus   had  involuntarily    bequeathed    to    the   Western 
princes.      In    Xovember,    1337,    Edward    was   appointed, 
and  he  accepted  the  appointment  of  Yicar-General  to  the 
German    emperor,   with    power  to   coin    gold    and   silver. 
Though   this  formality  now  seemed   needless,  yet  that  it 
was  entered  into  with  the  view  to  prepare  the  way  for  the 
coinage    of   gold   is   evident   from  several   circumstances. 
In  1340  the  king's  council  in  parliament  enacted  that  all 
shippers    of   wool   should  undertake  to  bring  in  for  each 
bag  two  marks'  worth  of  gold  or  silver.'^      Again,  in  1342 
the  king  ordered  still  more  pointedly  that  all  corn  exported 
to   foreign    countries    should    be    sold   for  gold    coins   or 
bullion.      Another  preparation — a  futile  one  to  be  sure- 
consisted   in   employing   Raymond   Lully,  or   some   other 
alchemist,  for   whom    a    laboratory  was   fitted    up   in  the 
Tower,  which  should   enable   that  impostor   to   transmute 
gold    from   baser    metals.      Was  it  an   excess  of  caution, 
lest   the   great    step  he  meditated  might  miscarry  at  the 
last  moment,  that  the  king   found  a  means  to  prompt  the 
advice   of   his   council  in   parliament   that  he  should  coin 
gold  ?      At  all  events,  such  seems  to   be  the   character  of 
the  insinuation   that   the   Fleinings  sold   their  goods  only 
for  Flemish  gold  florins,  which  were  valued   so   highly  in 
1  Euding,  ii,  p.  149. 


English  silver  coins  as  to  render  payment  in  the  latter 
unprofitable  to  English  merchants.  ''In  other  words/' 
said  the  king,  "  by  paying  gold  florins  with  silver  coins  our 
;  merchants  continually  lose  ;  let  us,  therefore,  enable  them 
to  pay  with  gold  ones.'' 

Such  appears  to  have    been  the   genesis  of  the  famous 

ordinance    of    1343.      Upon   the    king's   information,    the 

i  king^s   council   advised    the   king,  in  case   the    Flemings 

I  were  willing,  to  issue  a  convention  gold  coin,  and  it  was 

provided,  in   such   event,  that   such   coins    should  be  un- 

,  limited    legal   tender    between    merchant    and    merchant, 

:  "  as  money  not  to  be  refused  ;"   that  all   other  persons, 

[  great  or    small,    might  accept  them   if  they  pleased,  but 

I  not  otherwise  ;   that  all  other  (foreign)  gold  coins  should 

I  be  melted   down  ;   and  that  no  silver   should  be   carried 

out    of    the    realm,  except    by  noblemen,   and    then   onlv 

,  silver-plate    for   use   in    their   houses.      This    advice   was 

:  carried  into  effect  in  1344  by  the  coinage  of  a  gold  double- 

:  florin,  weighing  50  to   the   pound   tower  and  23^   carats 

:  0-979i  fine,  the   "  old    standard  "  for  gold.^      Thus,  each 

I  piece  would  contain   lOSJ  grains  fine.      It  was  ordered  ta 

ibe  current  at  six  shillings  (each  of  12  sterlings).     Two  or 

;  three  specimens   of   this   piece  are   extant,  both  found  in 

I  the   river   Tyne.      The  best  one  weighs  107  grains  gross. 

I  There  were  also  florins  and  half-florins  of  the  same  issue, 

'now   extremely  rare.      At    first — and    differing'    from    the 

advice  of  the  council  in  parliament — the  double-florins  were 

made    full   legal   tenders    in  "  all   manner   of  payments," 

afterwards   optional    legal    tenders,  and  finally  they  were 

demonetised    all    within   the    same  year.      They  were  the 

first  English  coins  of  any  kind  upon  which  were  stamped 


I  '  As  this  was  the  first  issue  of  gold  coins  by  any  Christian  king  in 
'England,  or  any  king  of  all  England,  except  the  abortive  maravedis  of 
Henry  III,  the  expression  "old  standard"  in  the  mint  indenture  could 
only  refer  to  the  Byzantine  or  the  Arabian  standard.  The  former  was 
'  about  0-900,  the  latter  was  0-979^  fine  (23^  carats).  Therefore,  "  old, 
,  standard  "  in  reference  to  gold  meant  the  Arabian  standard. 


tlie  words  ^' Dei  arratia."^  Down  to  tliat  time  the  kinofs 
of  England  coined  by  the  grace  of  Caesar,  or,  as  in  John^s 
case,  tlie  pope,  his  successor.  Edward  III.  first  coined 
by  the  grace  of  God. 

Previous  to  1344  the  sterlings  of  Edward  III/  con- 
tained 20f  grains  0"925  fine  =19^  grains  fine  silver. 
Hence  the  ratio  between  the  double-florin  and  sterling 
was  about  12"6  for  1 — too  hig-h  for  gfold  and  too  low  for 
silver.  As  the  Flemings  were  evidently  unwilling  to 
accept  gold  at  this  valuation,  and  the  double-florins 
found  no  welcome  with  the  merchants,  the  king,  bent 
upon  the  successful  issuance  of  this  significant  proclama- 
tion and  token  of  national  independence,  ordered  a  new 
gold  coin  to  be  struck,  and  he  decried  the  first  one.  The 
■second  issue,  which  was  made  in  the  same  year  as  the 
first,  was  of  nobles  weighing  39|  to  the  pound  tower,  same 
fineness  as  the  double  florins,  hence  containing  1338  grains 
fine,  and  valued  at  6s.  8d. — a  ratio  of  11 '06  for  1,  These 
were  made  legal  tender  for  all  sums  of  20<s.  and  upwards, 
but  not  for  any  sum  below.  The  obverse  of  this  coin  repre- 
sents the  king  standing  in  a  ship  in  mid-channel,  obviously 
in  allusion  to  its  international  chai-acter.  Some  of  the 
numismatists,  however,  make  it  typify  the  strength  of  the 
English  navy  in  1369,  fifteen  years  after  date  ;  others  a 
victory  over  corsairs  in  1347,  three  years  after  ;  and  others 
a  naval  victory  over  the  French  in  1340,  four  years  before. 
Mr.  Keary  gives  the  weight  of  an  extant  noble  of  this 
issue  at  138i  grains  standard.  This  is  evidently  excep- 
tionally heavy.  He  also  gives  the  weight  of  the  later 
issues  of  1346  at  128y  grains  standard,  and  the  still 
later  ones  of  1351  to  1360  at  120  grains  standard,  the 
legal  value  being  always  65-.  8d.  The  king's  seigniorage 
upon  these  coins  was  £J  for  each  one  pound  tower  weight 
of  gold,  and  the  charge  of  the  Master  of  the  Mint  was 
Ss.  4c?. — together,  £1  3s.  4d.  As  the  tower  pound  weight 
was  coined  into  £13  3s.  4cZ.  of  account,  the  merchant  re- 

*  Ruding,  ii,  p.  212.  -  "  Old  Sterlings  "  (Lowndes). 


ceived  back  but  £12,  or  scarcely  more  than  91  per  cent., 
of  the  gold  deposited  at  the  mint.  In  the  following  year 
the  merchant's  proportion  of  the  £13  3s.  4d.  coined  out 
of  his  pound  weight  of  gold  was  raised  from  £12  to 
•  £12  13s.  4(?.,  thus  leaving  to  the  Crown  and  mint  only  4 
per  cent.^ 

When  the  Crown   came  to  deal  with    the   Flemings  it 
'  found    that   people   less    compliant   than   it   had  wished. 
They  agreed  to  accept  gold   nobles   provided  they  were 
■  coined  (under  the  king's  letter  of  authority)  in  Flanders, 
I  and  also  provided  tbey  could  agree  upon  a  proper  division 
'  of  the  profits  from  the  coinage."      To  determine  this  pro- 
portion and  superintend  the  issuance  of    the  coins,  com- 
missioners were  sent  to  Ghent,  Bruges,  and  Ipre,  but  the 
result    of    the    negotiations    is    not    definitively    known. 
Froissart  and  Grafton  both  state  that  gold  coins  with  the 
name  of  Edward  were  struck  at  Antwerp  in  1337,  but  such 
coins  are  not  extant ;   neither  are  there  any  of  the  Anglo- 
Flemish  gold  coins  proposed  in  1344.       In  a  mint  inden- 
ture of  1345  the  weight  of  the  noble  was  reduced.      The 
pound   tower  of  gold,  23^  carats  fine,  was  to  be  coined 
into  42  nobles,  each  valued  at  80  sterlings.      In  1351  the 
: noble    was    reduced    to    120     grains     standard    without 
alteration  of  nominal  value,  which  continued  as  before  at 
Qs.  8d.,  or  80  sterlings. 

One  thing  more.  This  coin  convention  with  the 
Flemings  is  the  earliest,  or  among  the  earliest,  international 
monetary  treaties  known  to  history  since  the  establish- 
ment of  the  sacred  Empire.  If  the  "kingdoms"  of  France, 
Spain,  Portugal,  England,  Burgundy,  etc.,  were  as  in- 
dependent  as   the    modern   historians  of  those  countries 

'  Ruding,  ii,  pp.  165,  174. 

-  Ibid.,  p.  194.  The  Flemish  ratio  of  the  time  was  evidently  10 
for  1 ;  and  to  warrant  the  acceptance  of  the  gold  nobles  in  Flanders  at 
Edward's  valuation,  the  Flemings  must  have  demanded  the  entire 
abandonment  of  the  seigniorage,  to  which,  of  course,  the  English  com- 
missioners  would  not  assent. 



would  fain  pretend,  why  is  it  that  they  have  not  been' 
able  to  produce  the  evidence  of  any  international  conven- 
tions between  them  previous  to  the  fall  of  Constantinople 
and  why  is  it  that  such  conventions  took  place  imme- 
diately after  that  event,  and  have  continued  to  take  place 
down  to  the  present  day  ? 

Down  to  the  issuance  of  the  gold  nobles,  the  monetary 
systems  of  the  English  monarchy  belonged  to  the  Empire: 
they  conserved  no  local  or  national  principles;  they  con- 
tain no  lessons  for  Englishmen.  But  from  this  moment 
they  assume  an  entirely  different  phase  and  beai'ing : 
they  become  imbued  with  life ;  they  partake  of  the  spirit 
which  had  begun  to  animate  the  nation  to  which  they 
belong ;  they  occupy  a  distinct  position  in  the  British 
constitution ;  and  they  bear  upon  them  the  marks  of  those 
endless  struggles  and  vicissitudes  through  which  the 
Anglo-Saxon  races  have  borne  the  standard  of  religious 
and  political  liberty. 




Impetus  afforded  to  the  development  of  British  national  independence 
—The  Great  Interregnum — Assertions  of  English  sovereign  authority- 
Assumption  of  royal  or  national  control  over  the  precious  metals  and 
money — Assumption  of  Mines  Royal — Assumption  of  treasure  trove — 
Royal  coinage  of  gold— Interdict  of  the  besant — Trial  of  the  pix — 
Royal  monetary  commission — Suppression  of  episcopal  and  baronial 
mints — Export  of  precious  metals  prohibited — First  complete  national 
sovereignty  of  money — Prohibition  of  tribute  to  Rome. 

^T^HE  gold  coinage  of  Henry  III,  proclaimed  an  assump- 
-^       tion  of  sovereign  power  which   Henry's  weak  and 
■  faithless  character  was  not  fitted   to  support  by  force  of 
;  arms.      It  bears  about  the  same  relation    to  England's 
declaration  of  independence  as  the  coinage  of  Pine  Tree 
I  shillings   did  to   that   of  America  :   it    was  the  trumpet-  • 
sound   of    a  coming  event;    not  the  event    itself.      The 
latter  was   embodied  in  the   magnificent  gold  coinage  of 
11344;    upon    which    Edward    is    pourtrayed    with   drawn 
';  sword,  and  standing  on  the  deck  of  a  man-of-war  assert- 
ing his  readiness  to  defend  the  new-born  liberties  of  his 
country  if  necessary  against  the  world. 

The    interval    between    the    coinages    of    Henry    and 
Edward   was  filled   with   significant    events.      Prominent 
[among  these  was  that  Great  Interregnum^  which  marked 
jthe  fall  of  the  mediaeval  empire,   and  the  dissolution  of 
flthat  political  partnership^  which   had  joined  the  prayers 
of  Leo  III,  to  the  dripping  swords  of  Pepin  and  Charle- 
magne.     Frederick  II,  died  in   1250,  and,  as  Mr.  Bryce 

>  The  name  given  to  the  interval  between  the  death  of  Frederick  II, 
jand  the  acceptance  of  the  so-called  "  imperial  crown "  by  Rudolph  of 
'Hapsburg  in  1273. 


pithily  remarks,  "  witli  Frederick  fell  the  empire."  Thel 
brief  and  eventless  reign  of  Conrad  IV,  and  the  assassin- 
ation of  Conradin,  by  the  connivance  and  with  the  ap- 
proval of  Clement,  ended  the  Suabian  line  of  ^'^  emperors,' 
but  furnished  no  basis  for  a  new  dynasty.  In  vain  didl 
the  See  of  Rome  urge  Richard  of  Cornwall,  Alfonso  of: 
Castile,  and  others,  to  fill  its  puppet-throne  of  empire. 
In  vain  did  it  urge  upon  the  Western  princes  the  necessity! 
of  choosing  an  imperial  sovereign.  It  met  with  nothing 
but  respectful  apathy.  Edward  was  not  the  only  princej 
who,  during  or  shortly  after  the  Interregnum,  drew  ani 
independent  national  sword.  The  church  had  extinguished! 
both  the  Basileus  and  the  "emperor";  there  was  no  longer; 
any  Empire,  neither  sacred  nor  holy,  neither  Eastern  nori 
Western.  The  edifice  which  Csesar  had  erected  had  often 
given  way,  and  had  been  as  often  propped  up,  patched^ 
and  repaired.  This  time  it  went  to  pieces,  and  many  ofi 
these  pieces  disappeared  in  the  void  of  the  Interregnum. 
The  pope  remained  master  of  the  field,  but  the  field  wasi 
a  desert.  The  princes  of  Europe,  the  pro-consuls,  dukes, 
and  kings  of  the  Roman  provincial  states  were  free. 
Nay,  more  ;  the  people  also  were  free,  and  the  Commons! 
once  more  assembled  together  as  a  political  body,  withi 
political  rights  and  functions. 

Yet,  though  long  since  condemned  by  the  united  voice 
of  Europe,  though  dismembered  and  past  all  hope  of 
resuscitation,  there  was  still  enough  vitality  in  the  empire! 
to  make  a  show  of  authority.  The  pope  of  Rome,  who 
had  been  its  executioner  and  Avas  now  its  legatee,  wasi 
anxious  to  revive  its  prestige,  in  order  that  he  might! 
inherit  that  as  well.  He  possessed  sufficient  resources  toi 
make  a  strong  effort  in  this  direction,  and  resolved  to 
embark  them  in  a  contest  with  the  Western  princes.  This 
struggle  did  not  come  to  a  close  until  the  reigns  of  Philip 
le  Bel  and  Edward  III.  Boniface  VIII.  had  written  to ! 
Philip,  claiming  him  as  "  a  subject  both  in  spirituals  and ; 
temporals."      To  this  Philip  had  replied,  "  We  give  your 



Foolship  to  know  that  in  temporals  we  are  subject  to  no 
person."'  And  with  this  contemptuous  retort  was  blown 
out  the  last  spark  of  Caesar's  empire. 

From  this  period  commenced  a  new  era  in  the  develop- 
ment  of   European    liberty.       Previously   the    movement 
,  against  Roman  suzerainty  was   directed  both  against  the 
"  emperor  "  and  the  pope,  and,  therefore,  was  divided  and 
weakened.      It  had  now  only  to  contend  against  the  pope, 
land  the  result  was  that  it  won  many  important  victories. 
i      Among  the  great  political  signs  which  mark  the  birth 
iof  the  independent  English  monarchy  was  the  assumption 
iby  the  Crown  of  entire  control  over  the  precious  metals. 
This  was  accomplished  by  various  steps — the  assertion  of 
mines  royal ;  treasure  trove  ;  coinage  of  gold  ;  demonetisa- 
tion of  the  Imperial  besant  and  other  coins  ;   control  over 
the  movement  of  the  precious  metals  ;   the  suppression  of 
episcopal  and  baronial   mints  ;    the   trial  of   the   pix  ;  the 
regulation  of  the  standard;  and  the  doctrine  of  national 
money.    All  these  steps  were  accomplished  at  this  period. 
Control   over   such   supplies,  as  mining  and  commerce 
.afford,  of  the  material  out  of  which  money  is  to  be  made 
by  the   sovereign   power,  is   a   necessary  corollary  of   the 
sovereign  right  to  create  money,  and  the  two  prerogatives 
will   always    be   found   in   one   hand."^      The    doctrine    of 
imines  royal  holds  that  all  mines  producing  such  materials 
belong   of  necessity  to  the  Crown.      Down  to  the  fall  of 
the    sacred   Empire   the    only  material  out   of  which  the 
princes  of  Europe  could  lawfully  create  money  was  silver  f 
•after  that  period  such  material  or  materials  included  gold. 
iThe   earliest    assertion    of   the   doctrine    of   mines    royal, 
including   gold   as   well    as    silver,  by  any  Christian  king 
was  made  by  Louis  IX,  of  France.      He  was  followed  by 
^  Brady,  "  Clavis  Calendaria,"  ii,  p.  84. 

-  Consult  my  "  Money  and   Civilisation  "  on  this  subject.     A  proper 
idjustment  of  the  rights  of  government  to  mines  of  the  precious  metals, 
both  in  England,  France,   Spain,  and  America,  still  awaits  the   dispas- 
sionate consideration  of  this  great  principle. 
'    ^  With  regard  to  copper,  see  elsewhere  herein. 


Henry  III^  who  in  1262  asserted,  for  the  first  time  ini 
England,  a  similar  doctrine  and  prerogative.  But  Henry — i 
though  in  this,  as  -well  as  in  other  respects,  he  frequently  i 
assumed  an  attitude  of  independent  sovereignty — wasi 
easily  bullied  out  of  it  by  the  effrontery  and  swagger  of  i 
the  pope  ;  so  that,  according  to  Matthew  Paris,  the  inde- ; 
pendence  of  England  was  asserted  and  surrendered  many 
times  during  his  weak  reign.  The  heroic  example  of 
Frederic  II,  in  defying  the  impudent  claims  of  the 
Vatican,  was  thrown  away  upon  this  superstitious  and 
faithless  voluptuary,  who  saw  his  country  again  and  again 
led  captive  to  the  foot  of  a  foreign  throne  rather  thani 
brave  a  single  curse  from  the  lips  of  a  scheming  pontiff. 
The  prerogative  of  mines  royal  was,  therefore,  practically 
abandoned  until  the  period  of  the  first  issue  of  gold  coins 
by  Edward  III,  when,  without  any  formality,  it  again 
came  into  force,  and  has  so  remained,  with  apparently 
little  change,  down  to  the  present  time.  However,  ini 
point  of  fact,  the  institution  of  private  coinage  has  dragged  | 
this  prerogative  down  with  that  of  I'oyal  coinage.  i 

The  prerogative  of  treasure  trove  was  adopted, 
held,  and  subsequently  relinquished  by  the  sovereign- 
pontiff  of  Eome,  who,  in  the  reign  of  Hadrian,  equit- 
ably divided  it  between  property  and  discovery.  This 
right  afterwards  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Koman 
proconsuls,  vassal  kings,  and  great  lords.  What  dis- 
position they  made  of  it  does  not  appear  in  the 
chronicles  of  the  mediaeval  ages,  but  we  need  no  chron- 
icle to  inform  us.  The  chance  discovery  of  a  hidden 
treasure  was  not,  like  the  opening  and  working  of  a  mine, 
a  public  and  onerous  enterprise,  involving  outlays  of 
capital,  the  co-operation  of  numerous  persons,  and  the 
permission  of  the  State  authorities.  On  the  contrary,  the 
finding  of  hidden  treasure  -was  of  a  secret  and  furtive  cha- 
racter, and  in  the  medigeval  ages  treasure  trove  belonged  to 
him  who  could  keep  it.  The  earliest  public  notice  of  the 
subject    in    England   relates  to   Edward  Confessor,   who 


declared  that  all  of  the  gold  and  one  half  of  all  silver 
•treasure  trove  belonged  of  right  to  the  king.  It  will 
be  borne  in  mind  that  the  England  of  this  prince  em- 
braced only  a  portion  of  the  present  kingdom.  We  next 
hear  of  treasure  trove  in  the  reign  of  Louis  IX,  of 
France  (1226—70),  who  declared:  "Fortune  d'or,  est  au 
roi ;  fortune  d'argent,  est  au  baron/'  thus  claiming  gold 
treasure  trove  for  the  Crown  and  relinquishing  silver  to 
the  nobles.^  The  same  doctrine  in  England  belongs  to  the 
reign  of  Henry  III,  and  it  was  not  until  the  following  cen- 
tury that  the  Crown  claimed  both  the  gold  and  silver  of 
treasure  trove. 

The  coinage  of  gold,  first  timidly  attempted  by  Henry, 
then  boldly  and  resolutely  begun  by  Edward,  has  been 
sufficiently  treated  in  this  work.  It  is  only  necessary  to 
repeat  that  it  forms,  and  has  always  formed,  practically 
the  most  striking,  notorious  and  unequivocal  assertion 
which  it  is  possible  to  make  of  sovereign  authority  and 
power,  and  that  its  entire  relinquishment  and  avoidance 
by  the  Western  Christian  princes  is  to  be  accounted  for 
on  no  other  sufficient  grounds  than  that  the  Basileus 
■was  universally  conceded  by  them  to  be  the  lawful  suc- 
cessor of  Constantine,  and  therefore  the  lawful  suzerain 
of  the  Empire  to  which  in  certain  respects  they  owed 
i  fealty. 

An  intermediate  step  between  the  acts  of  Henry  and 
Edward  III,  was  taken  by  Edward  I,  who  in  1291,  or 
■thereabouts — the  date  being  uncertain — ordered  that  no 
iforeign  coins  should  be  admitted  into  the  kingdom  except 
such  as  might  be  in  use  by  travellers  and  others  for  casual 
expenses  ;  and  as  to  these,  he  provided  public  offices  where 
jthey  might  be  exchanged.  This  law  may  have  been  in- 
tended to  iuclude^and  aim  at  the  besant,  then  the  most 
important  "foreign"  coin  in  circulation;  for,  with  regard  to 
other  foreign  coins,  they  appear  to  have  been  as  numerous 

*  "  Etablissements,"  liv.  i,  chap.  15. 


and  as  commonly  employed  in  England  after  this  enact- 
ment as  before.^ 

The  policy  of  regulatings  or  attempting  to  regulate, 
the  import  and  export  movement  of  the  precious  metals, 
which,  as  we  may  see  from  Cicero,  Pliny,  and  other 
authors,  was  systematically  pursued  by  the  Roman  State, 
both  as  it  approached,  and  after  it  had  assumed,  the 
condition  of  an  Empire,"  was  also  first  adopted  by  the 
king  of  England  during  the  Plantagenet  period.  It  is 
true  that  Mr.  J.  E,,  McCulloch  was  of  opinion  that  this 
policy  was  pursued  in  England  before  the  Norman  Con- 
quest ;^  but  as  he  has  offered  no  proofs  to  support  it, 
and  the  coinage  and  other  legislation  respecting  gold 
contradicts  it,  the  author  is  compelled,  though  with  reluc- 
tance, to  differ  in  this  instance  from  that  distinguished 

The  same  policy  of  regulating  the  movement  of  gold 
and  silver,  now  erroneously  known  as  the  mercantile 
system,  was  assumed  by  all  the  States  that  rose  on  the 
ruins  of  the  empire,  but  not  until  they  had  shaken  off  its 
claims  to  their  allegiance.  The  sudden  assumption  of  this 
regalian  right  implies  a  previous  interval  of  over  thirteen 
centuries,  during  which,  save  the  Empire  itself,  there  was 
no  permanently  independent  sovereign  State  within  the 
domain  of  Christendom  with  power  to  exercise  it.* 

Analogous  to  this  regalian  right  was  that  of  purging 
the  kingdom  of  episcopal  and  baronial  mints,  with  the 
view  to  concentrate  the  prerogative  of  providing  an  unital 
measure  of  value  for  the  whole  kingdom,  and  placing  it 
in  the  hands  of  the  sovereign.  Such  right  was  evidently  j 
attempted  to  be  exercised  by  means  of  the  Monetary  Com- 
mission of  1293  (22  Edward  I),  which  was  appointed  to 

1  Jacob,  "  Hist.  Prec.  Metals,"  p.  204. 

-  At  that  period,  for  reasons  which  the  readers  of  this  work  will 
understand,  it  was  confined  to  gold. 

3  «  Polit.  Econ.,"  p.  27. 

*  This  view  is  amply  supported  by  Mr.  Bliss  in  his  recently  published 
"  Papal  Eegistei-s." 


examine  the  various  coins  employed  throughout  the 
kingdom,  and  report  upon  the  same  to  the  king.  The 
text  of  the  instructions  to  this  commission  is  preserved  in 
Madox's  '^  History  of  the  Exchequer/'  i,  p.  293,  note  F. 

xinother  assertion  of  regalian  rights  during  this  period 
was  the  trial  of  the  pix,  which  is  first  specifically 
:3ientioned  in  the  Exchequer  Rolls  relating  to  the  9th  or 
10th  Edward  I,  about  1280  or  1281.^ 

•    The  regulation  of  the  standards  of  weight  and  fineness 
s  necessarily  connected  with  the   prerogative  of  coinage. 
So  long  as  the  sacred  Empire  remained,  the  coinage  pre- 
•Qcrative  of  the  Basileus — which  the  princes   of   Christen- 
'lorn  had  never  presumed  to  violate — acted  as  a  continual 
iiheck   upon    any    desire    or   tendency    on  their    part   to 
.idulterate  or  lower  the  coinage.      Anybody  could  balance 
L  quarter-besant  against  a  silver  penny,   and  so  settle  out 
|)f  hand  the  question  of  weight.      That  of  fineness,  though 
'lot  susceptible   of  so  satisfactory  a  solution,  was  almost  as 
eadily    determinable    with   the   aid   of    the    touchstone. 
3y  these  means  the  tendency  of  the  vassal  princes  of  the 
:3mpire  to  adulterate  their  silver   coinage  was    effectually 
defeated.      That   such  was  their  desire  and  tendency,  and 
ihat  they  often  attempted  to  indulge  it,  has  been  abundantly 
iroved  ;   and  to  rid  themselves   of   the   serious  restraints 
rhich  the  ancient  prerogatives  of   the   Basileus  imposed 
■  pon  their  fiscal   operations,    they   would   probably  have 
•teen    glad    to    enlist    in    a    dozen    crusades,    instead    of 
:  1  The  regulation  of  weights  and  measures— an  obscure  subject  await- 
'flg  elucidation  at  the  hands  of  scholars — seems  to  have  been  in  ancient 
:mes  connected  with  the  coinage,  and  exercised  as  an  ecclesiastical  func- 
ion.      With  the   organisation  of  the  Eoman   empire    it  fell  into  the 
ands  of  the   sovereign-pontiff,  and  continued  to  be   exercised  by  his 
-iccessor,  the    pope.      The  ninth   decree   of  the   council   assembled  bj 
-thelstan,  at  Gratanlea,  forbade  the  holding  of  fairs  on  Sundays,  while 
le  tenth  exhorts  the  bishops  "  to  keep  the  standards  of  the  weights  and 
leasures  of  their   respective  dioceses,  and  take  care  that   all  conformed 
)  these   standards."      The    acts    of  this    council,   or   parliament,  were 
videntlv  made  in  conformity  with  orders  or  advices  from  Eome  (Henry, 
•Hist.  Brit.  II,"  i,  p.  262). ' 


five.  Bat  whilst  the  faineant  Empire  of  the  Basileui 
actually  lasted — and  this  it  did  so  long  as  the  pope  hesi 
tated  to  destroy  it — the  Christian  princes  had  to  retu 
sooner  or  later  to  the  ratio  of  value  and  the  standards  ol 
weight  and  fineness  imposed  upon  them  by  its  senile  but 
venerable  authority.  The  moment  the  Empire  fell  all 
restraint  flew  before  the  winds.  The  standards  then,  and 
for  the  first  time,  began  to  permanently  vary,  and  they 
continued  to  vary  until  all  sight  of  the  originals  was 
lost.  Indeed,  nothing  more  curiously,  yet  unerringly, 
marks  the  emergence  of  the  Christian  princes  from  the 
position  of  vassals  to  that  of  independent  monarchs  than 
the  open,  flagitious,  and  radical  alteration,  debasement, 
and  degradation  of  the  coinage  which  began  in  all  parts 
of  Europe  after  the  fall  of  Constantinople,  and  which,  un- 
like all  previous  alterations,  parted  completely  from  the 
original  Eoman  standards  and  never  returned  to  them. 

In  all  its  aspects  money  is  the  most  certain  indication 
of  sovereignty,  but  in  none  of  them  so  absolutely  as  in 
the  practical  and  continued  assertion  of  the  principle 
that  that  is  money  which  the  State  declares  to  be  money. 
This  principle  was  asserted  by  the  ancient  Commonwealth, 
preserved  by  Paulus,  and  enshrined  forever  in  the  Digest 
of  the  Civil  Law.  It  was  practically  observed  and  em- 
ployed by  every  sovereign  of  the  Empire,  but,  until  the 
downfall  of  that  Empire,  by  no  other  prince  of  Christen- 
dom ;  then,  like  all  the  other  prerogatives  left  by  the 
defunct  Basileus,  this  one  was  assumed  by  the  princea 
who  had  shaken  off  his  ancient  but  dishonoured  claims  of 
suzeraintv,  and  we  first  hear  of  it  in  Enc^land  durinof  the! 
reign  of   Edward   II I. ^ 

If  we  turn  from  the  prerogatives  of  the  Basileus  to 
those  of  the  pope,  to  mark  the  end,  as  we  have  already 
marked    the   beginning   and  progress,  of  those  practical 

1  Plowden's  "  Com.,"  p.  316 ;  Polvdore  Teigil,  Pari.  EoUs,  21 
Edward  III,  fol.  60 ;  Chief  Justice  Hale's  opinion  in  "  State  Trials,"  ii» 
p.  114. 


lissertions  of  sovereignty  -svliicli  constitute  the  birth  of  the 
ndependent  monarchy  of  England,  we  shall  find  it  in 
il366,  the  fortieth  year  of  the  glorious  reign  of  Edward  III. 
lin  that  year  it  was  ordered  that  Peter's-pence  should  no 
jnore  be  gathered  in  England  nor  paid  to  Eonie.^ 

1  Cooper's  "  Chronicle,"  fol.  245  ;  Stowe,  p.  461 ;  Fabian's  "  Chron." 
.0  Edward  III,  in  Nicholson's  "  Hist.  Lit."  ;  Statute,  25  Henry  VIII, 
■.  21  (1533) ;  Ending,  ii,  p.  205. 



Fish,  vadmal,  baugs,  and  coins — Eatio — The  mark — Imitations  o: 
Eoman  coins — The  pagan  Hansa — Charlemagne — The  Christian  Hans^ 
— Great  fair  of  Xovgorod — Ruric — Harold  Hardrade — Christian  II- 
The  tyrant's  "klippings" — Massacre  of  Protestants — Mons — Gustavni 
Vasa — "  Klippings  "  of  freedom — Marks,  talents,  and  dalere — Pnvat< 
coinage — Rundstyks — Copper  plates — Assignats — Transport  notes — 
Bank  of  Stockholm — Goertzdalers,  or  mynt-saicen — State  notes — Banks 
of  Copenhagen — Inconvertible  notes — Silver  dalers — Demonetisation  oJ 
silver — Gold  "  standard  "  of  1872. 

\  NCIENT  Saxony  consisted  of  the  southern  sliores  of 
-^"^  the  Baltic  and  North  Seas.  It  was  situated  between 
Germany  and  the  ocean.  Its  inhabitants  were  Goths, 
that  is  to  say,  a  mixture  of  the  SacEe  and  the  native 
tribes  whom  they  had  conquered,  and  with  whom  they 
had  amalgamated.  Their  original  seat  of  government  was 
Yinet  or  Julin.  In  the  eighth  century  the  Goths  were 
destroyed  or  dispersed  by  Charlemagne.  Those  who  sur- 
vived an  almost  exterminating  war,  escaped  for  the  most 
part  to  the  Cimbrian  and  Norwegian  peninsulars,  where 
they  united  the  fylkis,  and  founded  new  kingdoms.  The, 
principal  ones  were  Danmark,  Gotland,  Upsala,  and 
Halgoland,  now  called  Denmai-k,  Sweden  and  Noi'way. 
Collectively  these  are  known  as  Scandinavia.^ 

In  very  early  ages,  and  in  later  ages  among  the 
more  remote,  isolated,  or  primitive  communities  of  ancient 
Saxony  and  Scandinavia  fish,  cattle,  vadmal,  and  linen- 
cloth  were  used  as  money;  but  as  society  became  more 
numerous  and  its  affairs   more  complicated,  the  equity  of 

^  Scanda  was  the  name  of  a  Getic  city  in  Colchis,  and  Scandea  that  of 
a  Getic  seaport  at  the  extremity  of  Cythera,  a  large  island  off  the 
southern  coast  of  Greece.     Pausanias  in  "  Laconics,"  p.  23. 


lexchanges,  rentals^  and  heritages  demanded  a  measure  of 
value  more  refined  than  commodities ;  and  this — as 
ippeared  in  the  customs  and  institutes  of  China  and 
,[ndia  to  the  eastward,  and  Greece  and  Rome  to  the 
southward,  with  all  of  which  States  the  Goths  were  in 
jommunication — was  money.  The  earliest  moneys  found 
n  Saxony  and  Scandinavia  are  coins  of  Tyre  and  Sidon. 
ifter  these  come  native  baugs  and  Greek  and  Roman 
;oins.  Between  the  era  of  baugs  and  the  ninth  century 
he  Goths  were  obliged  to  use  foreign  moneys,  and  they 
)ften  compelled  captured  cities  to  strike  coins  for  them.^ 
during  this  period  they  successively  used  five  classes  of 
Qoneys,  only  two  of  which  were  of  native  fabrication. 
,(^irst,  native  baugs ;  second,  oriental  coins  ;  third,  Greek 
,nd  Roman  coins  ;  fourth,  native  and  rude  imitations  of 
ioman  coins.  For  example,  a  Gothic  imitation  of  a 
loman  imperial  gold  coin  was  found  with  a  skeleton  at 
lareslen,  in  Odense,  amt  Fyen,  an  island  about  86  miles 
rom  Copenhagen  ;  while  a  similar  imitation  of  a  Byzan- 
ine  coin  of  the  fifth  century  was  found  at  Mallgard,  in 
Totland.^  Fifth,  moslem  coins  of  the  seventh  and  eighth 
enturies,  of  which  immense  numbers  have  been  found  all 
iver  Scandinavia  and  the  shores  of  the  Baltic,  from 
ICsthonia  to  the  Netherlands.  It  is  possible  there  was  a 
lixth  class,  silver  sterlings,  struck  in  Saxony  before 
he  Carlovingian  period ;  but  there  are  none  in  the 
British  Museum  collection  nor  in  the  collections  of  Paris, 
Copenhagen,  or  Christiania.^ 

(    Bang    means    literally   a   ring    or   bracelet.       In    the 
ormer  sense  the  term  is  still  used  in  France  ;  in  the  latter 

1  Thompson's  "  Social  Science,"  p.  157.  '  Du  Chaillu,  i,  pp.  262, 275. 
■  ^  The  Gothic  kings  strack  coins  in  Spain  from  the  Roman  to  the 
iioslem  period,  that  is  to  say,  from  a.d.  411  to  711.  Other  Gothic  kings 
truck  coins  in  England  from  Ethelbert  II,  to  Harold,  that  is  to  say, 
pom  A.D.  748  to  1066.  Specimens  of  all  these  coins  are  extant  ("  Ancient 
jritain,"  chap.  xix).  Under  such  circumstances  it  is  difficult  to  believe 
iiat  the  Goths  of  the  Baltic  struck  no  coins  before  the  Carlovingian  era ; 
t'et  this  is  what  some  numismatists  maintain. 


sense  it  is  retained  in  the  bangles  of  India.  Bangs  wen 
used  as  money  in  the  Northern  lands  at  a  very  remote 
date.  They  were  mentioned  by  C^sar  as  being  in  use 
when  he  landed  in  Britain;  and  they  have  been  found 
in  graves  of  apparently  a  far  higher  date.  On  thd 
other  hand,  they  continued  in  use  long  after  coins  were 
introduced,  and  only  disappeared  when  the  superior 
eflSciency  of  the  latter,  as  a  measure  of  value,  was  univer- 
sally recognised,  or  else  when  the  use  of  the  former  w&i 
forbidden.  As  baugs  thus  passed  fi'om  use  as  money,! 
they  were  employed  as  relics  and  ornaments — a  circum* 
stance  which  appears  quite  plainly  when  the  texts  of  the 
sagas  are  examined  with  attention. 

Egil,  having  been  paid  two  chests  of  silver  as  indemnity! 
for  his  brother's  life,  returned  thanks  in  a  song,  in  which 
he  calls  the  indemnity  a  "  gul-baug."  ^  In  this  passage! 
"  gul  "  cannot  mean,  as  "  argentum  "  did  in  Latin  and 
"  argent "  does  in  French,  money  generally,  because  it  is! 
coupled  with  "  bang "  ;  nor  can  it  mean  gold  money; 
because  it  was  actually  paid  in  silver.  It  can  only  meanj 
a  money  payment,  that  perhaps  was  once  made  with  gold- 
baugs,  and  was  now  commuted  with  silver  coins,  of  which 
a   "chest  "  was  a  known  number. 

"  If  a  leudr-man  wounds  another  he  has  to  pay  12 
baugr,  each  of  12  aurar,  valued  in  silver.''^  Twelve 
aurar  to  the  bang  is  an  alteration  of  rather  low  date. 
Aurar  was  the  name  of  the  Gothic  ounce  weight  of  450 
English  grains,  derived  from  the  weight  of  a  "  libra  "  of 
gold,  or  five  Roman  aureii,  of  the  time  of  Caracalla  to 
Probus.  It  was  also  the  Gothic  name  of  a  gold  coin,  the' 
sicilicus,  or  skilling,  containing  from  30  down  to  16  grains.J 
Still  later  it  became  the  name  of  a  Gothic  silver  coin,! 
eight  times  the  weight  of  the  gold  one.  Du  Chaillu 
(i,  p.  549)  regards  the  aurars  mentioned  in  the  last  pass- 
age as  weights.      If  they  were,  it  would  follow  that  thej 

^  Egil's  saga;  Du  Chaillu,  ii,  pp.  16,  476-7. 
-  "  Frothstathing  Law,"  iv,  p.  53. 



indemnity  for  wounding  a  man  was  equal  to  18  marks 
„veight  of  silver,  which  at  the  period  of  this  law  would 
,iave  been  a  prepostei-ous  penalty.  They  are  far  more 
ikely  to  have  meant  gold  skillings,  payable  in  silver 

I  "Olaf  II,  (1015-28,)  went  southward  across  the  sea 
ifrom  North  Britain  or  Norway  to  the  continent),  and 
lefeated  the  vikings  before  Williamsby.  He  captured 
■xunnvaldsborg,  in  Seljopollar,  and  laid  ransom  on  it  and 
he  jarl  of  twelve  thousand  gull  skillingar.  This  was 
;)aid  by  the  town."^ 

Grold  baugr  have  been  found  at  Baugstrop,  with  Eoman 
■oius  of  the  third  and  fourth  centuries — a  circumstance 
ihat  marks  the  contemporaneous  use  of  bangs  with  Eoman 
mperial  coins.^  Some  of  the  bangs  found  in  graves  consist 
if  small  spiral  rings,  strung  upon  a  large  loop,  like  keys 
ipon  a  modern  key-ring.  If  the  spiral  rings  were  used 
s  money,  the  loop  was  probably  the  "  silver  aurar,"  But 
am  inclined  to  believe  that  these  particular  baugs  were 
lot  money. 

,  In  the  following  passage  the  baug  was  evidently  used 
,or  sacerdotal  or  ceremonial  purposes  :  "  Egil  fastened  a 
laug  on  each  arm  of  the  dead  Throlf,  and  then  buried 
lim."^  ''A  baug  was  paid  for  a  bride."''  King  Olaf 
[he  Holy  (a.d.  993-98)  sent  a  large  gold  baug  from 
Qngland  to  Queen  Sigrid  in  Sweden.  He  wanted  to 
:iarry  her.  She  had  the  ring  broken,  and  found  that  the 
nside  consisted  of  brass. ^  This  was  the  same  Olaf  who 
5  said  to  have  established  Christianity  in  Norway,  and 
7ho  helped  Sveyn  to  conquer  Northumbria. 
,  Although  the  Goths  employed  moneys  so  diverse,  as 
re  shown  in  the  five  classes  stated  above,  they  accorded 
,3  them  a  valuation  (as  between  the  gold  and  silver  ones), 
iT^hich  was  peculiarly  their  own  ;   and  as  in  this  valuation, 

1  St.  Olaf's  saga,  c.  16 ;  Du  Chaillu,  ii,  p.  485. 

-  Du  Chaillu,  i,  245.  ^  Egil's  saga. 

^  "  Frostathing,"  vi,  p.  4.  *  "  Olaf  Trygvaeson,"  pp.  65-6. 


and  its  connection  with  passages  in  the  sagas,  there  ai 
locked  up  many  precious  fragments  of  a  buried  histoid 
it  is  worth  while  to  explain  it  at  length. 

"What  the  Eomans  called  a  feira,  or  fair,  the  Goths  ( 
Holnigard  and  lestland  called  a  naerk,  or  market,  possibl 
from  mir,  a  community,  the  term  being  still  used  i 
Eussia.^  Gatherings  by  this  name  were  held  in  village 
once  a  week,  when  the  people  came  together  and  exchange 
their  produce  and  wares.  At  these  markets  very  little 
no  money  was  employed.  At  the  great  fairs,  which  war 
held  once  a  year — for  example,  at  Novgorod  Veleki— 
traders  came  from  the  most  distant  regions,  from  Chins' 
India,  Mikliardi  (Constantinople),  Lumbardi,  Gaullanc 
Angleland,  Frakkland,  Saxland,  Gotland,  Heligolanc 
Yinet,  and  lestland.  "Lodin,  a  Norwegian  trader,  was  one 
at  a  market  in  Eistland.""  At  these  fairs  money  was  th 
necessary  medium  of  exchange  ;  and  the  most  importan 
question  to  be  settled  in  respect  of  money  was  the  rati 
of  value  between  gold  and  silver  coins,  for  this  is  wher 
the  utmost  diversity  existed  among  the  various  peopl 
who  brought  their  goods  to  the  merk.  During  the  fon 
centuries  which  preceded  the  Gothic  revolt  against  Romt 
that  is  to  say  from  Sylla  to  Carausius — the  oriental 
valued  gold  at  about  Qh  times  its  weight  in  silver,  th 
Persians  at  13  times,  the  Greeks  at  10  times,  and  th 
Eomans  (from  the  time  of  Julius  Csesar)  at  12  times 
Possibly  for  the  reason  that  it  was  a  convenient  meai 
between  these  various  ratios  the  Goths  of  the  third  centnr 
adopted  the  ratio  of  eight  for  one  ;  in  other  words,  gol«' 
coins  were  to  pass  current  for  eight  times  their  weight  6 
silver  ones.  The  Eoman  libra  of  this  period  consisted  o 
five   gold  aureii,  each  of   90  English   grains.      Hence,  i 

'  The  tenn  merk  is  still  used  by  the  Scots.  In  their  ancient  scale  o 
moneys  there  were  2  doits  (fingers)  to  a  boodle,  2  boodles  to  a  plack 
3  placks  to  a  bawbee,  and  13-|  bawbees,  or  160  doits,  to  the  merk. 

-  "  Olaf  Trygvaeson,"  p.  58.  The  Flateyarbok  contains  an  animate* 
description  of  the  Great  Fair  at  Xovgorod  ("Anc.  Brit.,"  c.  xii 
note  26 j. 


:  contained  450  English  grains  of  gold,  and  the  libra  of 
i  silver  12  x  450  =  5,400  English  grains  of  silver.  At  the 
Gothic  ratio  of  8  for  1,  it  only  required  3,600  grains 
,  weight  of  silver  in  merk  money  to  pay  off  a  Kotuan  libra 
'  of  account,  and  hence  it  was  that  this  quantity  of  silver 
coins  came  to  be  known  as  a  merk,  or  mark. 

If  we  have  correctly  indicated  the  origin  and  signifi- 
:cance  of  this  intei'esting  term,  the  equivalents  employed 
at  the  great  fairs  of  the  Baltic  cities  during  the  dark 
ages  were  as  follows,  the  integer  being  the  mark  of 
silver  coins,  weighing  about  3,600  grains,  the  origin  of  the 
Saxon  mark  weight  of  a  subsequent  age,  but  as  yet  only 
a  sum  of  money.  In  this  system  there  were  eight  silver 
saigas  to  the  ortugar ;  4  ortugars  to  the  ora ;  2  oras  to 
the  eyrir ;  and  4  eyrirs  to  the  mark.^ 

At  a  subsequent  period  there  were  6  bronze  penningen 
to  the  silver  penningar,  and  10  silver  penningen  to  the 
ortugar  ;  but  with  these  and  other  vai-iations  we  have  at 
present  no  concern.  As  for  the  relation  of  the  mark  and 
syrir  there  is  some  uncertainty.^  There  was  also  a  coin 
called  a  thveit,  but  its  value  has  not  been  ascertained.^ 

A   few   words    here    to   those   numismatists    who    still 

linger  in  the   exploded  belief  that  the  names   of  moneys 

iire    derived    from    weights.      The    mark    of   money   was 

:raced  by  Agricola   (a.d,   1550)   to  the  earliest  annals  of 

;he  Cimbrian  peninsular ;  the  Roman  libra  of  five  solidi 

s  defined  in  the   Theodosian  Code,   and  is  mentioned  by 

luthors  of  a  much  earlier  period.      It  was  Elagabalus  who 

.)rdered  all  the  tributes  to  be  collected  in  aureii,  or  else  in 

diver  coins  of  equal  value,  which,  as  the  law  then  stood, 

neant  twelve  times  their  weight.      The  ratio  of  14'40  for 

.  in  the  reign  of   Theodosian,  deduced  by  Rome  de  Lisle, 

3oeckh,  and  other  metrologists,  is  a  blunder,  based  on  a 

^  "  German  Law,"  vi,  13  ;  "  Bavarian  Law,"  ix,  3,  4 ;  De  Vienne, 

■  Livre  d' Argent "  ;  Du  Chaillu,  "  Viking  Age,"  ii,  p.  216. 

I  ^  "  The  eyrir  of  gold  "  is  mentioned  in  the  Egil  saga,  c.  7.    Compare 

)u  Chaillu,  ii,  pp.  13,  58  n,  216. 

^  Du  Chaillu,  ii,  p.  238. 



wrong  reading  of  the  Code^  and  the  modern  delusion  thati 
a  libra  always  meant  a  pound  weight,  which  was  no  more; 
true  in  the  time  of  Theodosius  than  it  is  now.  The  goldi 
sicilicus,  or  little  solidus,  which,  toward  the  end  of  itsi 
career  contained  about  sixteen  grains,  and  was  indicated 
by  the  middle  of  term  of  £.  s.  d.,  was  struck  by  Justinian,  | 
and  specimens  are  now  in  the  Madrid  collection.  Indeed,; 
we  are  assui*ed  by  Father  Mariana  tbat  it  was  struck  at! 
a  much  eai'lier  date,  when,  of  course,  it  weighed  some-i 
thing  more.  He  speaks  of  some  of  these  earlier  sicilici: 
in  his  own  collection. 

Retuiming  to  the  mark  of  the  Baltic,  if  we  include  that 
whole  period  of  the  dark  and  middle  ages,  its  weight 
varied  in  different  places  from  about  3,800  to  3,200  grains, 
according  to  the  date  when  the  mark  was  adopted ;  iu 
other  words,  according  to  the  fineness  of  the  baugs  or 
coins  employed  to  make  up  the  sum  of  a  mark.  As  this 
was  to  consist  of  3,600  grains  of  silver  in  baugs  or 
coins  equal  in  fineness  to  gold  standard,  and  as  the 
Roman  gold  standard  of  the  third  century  was  -f-^  fine, 
it  followed  that  whenever  coins  fell  below  this  standard 
they  had  to  be  increased  in  number  to  make  up  the  Gothic 
mark  of  money.  This  circumstance  accounts  for  the 
variation  in  the  mark  weights  of  England,  Cologne, 
Holland,  Scandinavia,  lestland  and  Novgorod.  The  mark 
weights  which  are  of  less  than  3,600  grains — as  are  those 
of  Castile,  Stockholm,  Riga,  Konigsberg,  etc. — are  the 
progeny,  not  of  early  debased  coins,  but  of  subsequently 
degraded  weights. 

The  coins  found  at  Aarleslen  and  Mallgard  are  not  the 
only  examples  of  Gothic  or  Saxon  imitations.  Moulds  for 
making  false  Roman  coins,  and  the  coins  with  them,  have 
been  found  beneath  King  William  Street,  London ;  at 
Lingwell  Gate,  in  Yorkshire  ;  at  Edington,  in  Somerset- 
shire ;  at  Ruyton  and  Wroxeter,  in  Shropshire  ;  at  Castor, 
in  Northamptonshire ;  at  Epernay,  in  France  ;  and,  at 
other  places.      Some  of   these  may  have  been  of  Roman 


fabrication,  wliile  others  were  Gothic.  The  earliest  ones 
mentioned  imitated  the  coins  of  Claudius ;  the  latest, 
those  of  Constautius.  Gothic  imitations  of  the  coins  of 
Louis  Debonnaire  have  been  found  in  the  Netherlands. 

I  The  monkish  chronicles  represent  the  Goths  as  being 
always  pirates  and  destroyers,  but  the  security  and  pros- 
perity of  Vinet,  Julin,  Bardewic,  Lunebui'g,  and  other 
Gothic  cities ;  the  great  fairs  of  Holmgard,  Gardariki, 
Eistland,  Saxony,  and  Denmark  ;  the  organisation  of  the 
pagan  Hansa,   which — centuries  before  the   establishment 

jof  the  Christian  Hansa — monopolised  the  maritime   com- 

'merce  of  northern  and  western  Europe;  and  many  other 
circumstances,  prove  the  contrary.       The  following  inci- 

;dent,  which  relates  to  the  terrible  invasion  of  Attila  (a.d. 
450),  indicates  that  the  Goths,  at  all  events  at  this  period, 
were  anything  but  savage  people,  for  it  alludes  with  horror 
to  the  cruelties  of  the  Huns.  It  is  from  the  Volsunga 
saga,  one  of  the  oldest  Norse  scriptures  still  extant. 

''  King  Atli  (Attila)  tortured  his  prisoners  at  the  stake. 

.    .    .    He  cut  out  the  thrall's  heart,  because  he  would  not 

tell  where  the  gold  was.    .    .   .   Then  he  cut  out  the  heart 

of  Hogni,  who  smiled  as  he  underwent  the  torture.   .    .    . 

'They  showed  the  heart  to  King  Gunnar  (Gondicar  I,  the 

Gothic  king  of  Burgundy),  who  said  :   '  I  know  where  the 

;gold  is,  but  the  Rhine  shall  keep  it  sooner  than  the  Huns 

jshall  wear  it  on  their  arms.    .    .    .    Atli,    mayst  thou  fare 

as  ill  as  thou  didst  keep  faith  with  me  ! '  "      How  strangely 

ihis  reads  like  the  dying  curse  of  Montezuma's  brother, 

svhom  Cortez  coldly  put  to  death   at  Shrovetide  in   1525, 

"or  precisely  the   same  offence  !       This   was   because    he 

A^ould  not,  or  could  not,  disclose  the  gold  hoards  or  mines 

'or    which    the     Spanish     adventurer    thirsted.       ''  Oh, 

Malinche  (Cortez),  it  is  long  that  I  have  known  the  falseness 

)f  your  words,  and  have  foreseen  that  you  would  award 

ne  that  death  which,  alas  !    I  did  not  give  myself  when  I 

urrendered  to  you  in  my  city  of  Mexico.      Wherefore  do 

'ou  slay  me  without  justice  ?   May  God  demand  it  of  you  ! " 


Whatever  development  of  civilisation  was   attained  byi 
the  Goths  and  other    Saxon   tribes   of  the  Baltic,  it  -was 
cut  down,  I'oot  and  branch,  by  the   mighty  arm  of  Rome 
wielding  the   zealous    sword  of    Charlemague.      Between  i 
A.D.  768  and  800  this   bigot  destroyed   hundreds  of  thou- 
sands of  the  Saxon  race,  transported  vast  numbers  of  the 
survivors    to    Upper    Germany,   filled    their    places   with! 
Germans,   levelled    their    cities — including    Vinet,   Julin, 
Bardewic,  and  Luneburg — almost  to   the  dust,  and  drove 
their    commerce    to   Norway,    Sweden,   Finland,    Russia,! 
Britain,  Ireland,  and  even  to  Iceland.      The  exterminating 
wai's  which    the   Western   Empire  waged  against    Gothic 
Saxouy  explain  an  otherwise  insoluble  problem  of  history. 
Why   are    there    no   Norwegian    or    Swedish   regal    coins' 
before  the  epoch  of  Charlemagne  ?      Because  these  coun- 
tries had   no  kings.      The  seat  of  Ivan  Yidfami's  power 
was  Eistland  or  Austriki.      It  was  from  this  centre  that,' 
in  the  fifth  century,  the  Norse  fleets   ravaged   the   coasts  i 
and  began  or  extended  their  conquests  in  Saxony,  Den- 
mark,   Sweden,   Norway,    Britain,     France,   and     Spain ; ! 
and  it  is  with  the   saigas  of  Eistland  that  we  must  begin 
our  researches  into  Scandinavian  monetary  history.      The 
list  of  Norse  kings  from  Odin  to  the  Skol-konungs  of  the 
eighth    century    are    purely    fanciful.      Jarls    and    fylki- 
konungs  and  vikings    of   Sweden  and  Norway  there  were 
in  plenty,  but  we  are  persuaded  that  no  sovereign  existed 
on  the  northern  peninsula,  clothed  with  independent  regal 
attributes,  until  the  Saxon  kings  were  defeated  by  Charle- 
magne, and  the  seat  of  Gothic   power  was  removed  from 
the  southern  to  the  northern,  western,  and  eastern  shores 
•of  the  Baltic.      In  the  eighth  and  ninth  centuries,  Gothic 
kings,  exercising  sovereign  powers, disappear  from  Saxony, 
whilst  others  spring  up  all  of  a  sudden  in  Denmark,  Nor- 
way, and    Sweden ;   the   germs    of    Gothic   republics   are 
established  in   Russia  and  Iceland  ;   Gothic   refugees    re- 
inforce   the  populations   of   Normandy  and  Britain ;   and 
in  all  of  these  countries  Gothic  coins  make  their  appear- 


ance.  In  Scandinavia  this  period  yields  us  the  earliest 
coins  of  local  mintage  ;  in  Novgorod  we  have  an  issue 
of  Gothic  leather  money ;  in  England,  where  the  Goths 
had  often  before  struck  money,  they  now  exhibit  us — 
and  that,  too,  in  gold — the  pagan  coins  and  moslem  legends 
of  Offa  ;  while  in  Iceland  the  Norse  colonists  went  back 
to  the  primeval  vadmal  and  fish-money  {"  sild  ")  of  the 
Saxon  coasts.  From  this  period  the  Saxons  disappear 
ifrom  history,  and  the  Scandinavians  take  their  place.  Is 
,it  not  quite  evident  that  these  are  only  two  names  for 
.the  same  Gothic  people  ? 

.  We  must  now  make  a  short  digression  in  order  to  trace 
the  origin  of  the  pagan  Hanseatic  League.  Under  the 
hierarchical  government  of  Rome,  which  began  with  the 
.semi-mythical  Romulus  and  ended  with  the  overthrow  of 
the  Tarquins,  all  corporations  {collegii)  were  chartered  by 
the  chief-pontiff.  These  included  both  sacerdotal  and 
commercial  bodies,  such  as  the  Fratres  Ambarvales,  the 
Luperci,  and  the  trade  guilds  of  Numa.  In  B.C.  306,  the 
Senate,  which  had  now  become  republican,  forbade  the 
formation  of  any  new  sacerdotal  communities,  and 
abolished  all  commercial  corporations,  new  or  old.  In 
:B.C.  59,  when  the  republic  was  about  to  expire,  and  upon 
the  motion  of  P.  Clodius,  provisions  were  made  for  the 
:re-establishment  and  increase  of  corporations  by  the 
Senate — a  power,  of  which,  under  the  hierarchy  erected  by 
Julius  Caesar,  that  ambitious  body  was  afterwards  entirely 
deprived.  This  power  was  now  again,  as  in  the  ancient 
times,  vested  in  the  sovei-eign-pontiff,  and  it  continued  to 
ibe  exercised  by  that  functionary  from  B.C.  47  to  a.d.  1204, 
when  the  long  line  of  Roman  hierarchs  was  broken  by  the 
■fall  of  Constantinople.  Among  the  numerous  commercial 
•corporations  whose  remains  attest  the  exercise  of  this 
•power  by  the  sovereign-pontiff  of  Rome  are  the  Navicu- 
;larii  of  Alexandria  and  the  Nautas  of  Paris,  both  of  them 
companies  of  maritime  adventure.  But  far  more  impor- 
,tant  than   these,  or  any  other  corporations   of  ancient  or 


mediasval  tiraes^  -was  the  Hansa  established  at  a  very  early' 
epoch  by  the  pagan  Goths,  chartered — or  more  properly- 
licensed — by  the  Basileus  in  the  fifth  or  sixth  century  • 
greatly  damaged  by  Charlemagne  and  his  successors' 
during  the  ninth,  tenth,  and  eleventh  centuries,  andi 
finally  destroyed  by  the  papal  forces  and  superseded  by 
the  Christian  Hanseatic  League  in  the  twelfth  or  thir» 
teenth  century.  As  the  Christian  Hansa  was  the  earliest 
trade  corporation  chartered  by  or  under  the  authority  of 
the  Latin  Christian  pontiffs,  and  as  all  the  so-called  ancient 
trade-guilds  of  the  present  time  came  into  existence  soon 
afterwards,  and  by  virtue  of  the  same  sacerdotal  authority, 
it  is  worth  while  to  rescue  from  the  oblivion  into  which 
they  have  fallen  the  scant  chronicles  and  remains  of  the 
once  powerful  pagan  Hansa,  upon  whose  ashes  were 
planted  this  crop  of  Christian  companies,  the  progenitors, 
in  turn,  of  an  entire  forest  of  modern  commercial  cor- 
porations. The  word  ^'han^'  is  Mongolian,  and  means 
a  corporation,  guild,  company,  or  association;  ''hansa" 
is  the  Latin  form  of  it.  Concerning  the  origin  of  the 
Hansa  we  have  no  explicit  information,  but  it  may  have 
existed  when  Csesar  broke  up  the  commercial  emporium 
of  the  Yeneti,  which  he  discovered  at  the  mouth  of  the 
Loire,  and  who  sent  to  their  colleagues  in  Britain  and 
the  Netherlands  for  assistance  against  his  attacks.^  Two 
centuries  later  than  this  there  was  a  trading  station  at 
Scandea,  in  the  island  of  Cythera,  south  of  the  Morea. 
From  its  Gothic  name,  the  quarrel  its  people  had  with 
the  king  of  Pontus,  where  the  Veneti  formerly  dwelt, 
the  fact  that  it  was  inhabited  by  a  community  of  foreigners 
as  well  as  Delians — and  of  foreigners,  too,  who  were  famous 
sailors  and  merchants — as  wellas  from  other  circumstances, 
Scandea  appears  to  have  been  an  emporium  of  the  Veneti." 
The  earliest  positive  information  concerning  the  pagan 
Hansa  is  furnished  by  Werdenhagen,  who  informs  us  that, 
ages  before  the  establishment  of  the  Christian  Hansa,  there 
^  Caesar,  "  De  Bell.  Gall.,"  iii,  c.  9.        -  Pausanius,  "Laconics,"  23. 



existed  a  number    of   confederated   commercial    cities  on 

the  shores   of    tlie  Baltic  and  North  Seas,  and  upon   the 

lower  banks  of  the  rivers  that  empty  into  them,  including 

the   Volkof,    Dwiua,    Memel,  Vistula,   Oder,  Elbe,  Aller, 

Ems,  lessel,  Rhine,  and  Weser  :   that  among   these   cities 

were  Dantzic  (Danes-wic)  Julin,  Vinet,  Bardewic  (Bhadr- 

wic),  Munster,  Dortmund,  Nimeguen,  Tiel  and  Deventer, 

and  that  the  confederacy  included  such  distant  places  as 

Novgorod    and    Cologne ;   that   all   these   cities  practised 

freedom    of   trade  ;   and  that  they  were   all    destroyed  or 

conquered,  and    their  inhabitants    put   to    the    sword,   or 

banished,  to  make  room  for  a  Christian  Hansa,  that  was 

'  substituted  in  its  place.      Julin  is  described  by  Adam  of 

'  Bremen,  writing  about  1080,  as  the  richest  city  in  Europe. 

Helmoldus  says  the  same.       Meursius  calls  it  the  capital 

'  of  the  Vandals,  and    Gibbon  says  that  the  Vandals  were 

Goths,      Vinet    is    described    by   Helmoldus.       Bardewic 

•  stood  about  a   mile   north   of   Luneburg.      Both  of   these 

cities    were    captured   and  sacked  by  Charlemagne,  and 

'  their   inhabitants    slaughtered   or   driven    away.      In   the 

!  twelfth    century    these    cities    were     finally  destroyed — 

I  Vinet  in  1127,  Bardewic  and  Luneburg  in  1137,    Julin  in 

■  1 140.      Within  half  a  century  of  this   time   the  Christian 

i  Hansa,  chartered  by  the  pope,  slipped  into   the  place  of 

its  pagan  predecessor,  absorbed  its  trade,  and  divided  its 

!  profits.^ 

\       Let    us    now  visit    the   great  annual    fair   or   merk  of 

S  Novgorod,  shortly  after  Euric  made  that  city  his  seat   of 

'  government.   Let  us  rehabilitate  the  moneys  of  the  pagan 

'  Hansa,  and  read    the   tablet   upon   which  was  inscribed, 

'  in    Gothic   runes,  the  value   of  the  various   moneys   then 

current  in  the  Baltic.     The  weights  are  in  English  grains. 

The  standard  at  this  period  was  that  of  the  Arabian  coins." 

The  scale  of  equivalents  was  4  ortugar=  1  ora;  and  8  oras  = 

'  1  mark.     There  were  probably  3  saigas  to  the  ortugar. 

'  "  Ancient  Britain,'  'ch.  xiii. 

"  For  details  of  which  see  "Money  and  Civilisation,"  p.  20. 


on  >.   "' 

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S      IJ    "— I   HIS) 

c  be  rt  CO 
■  -r  -iti  bcrs 
P  5^  'O  13 

be  be  be 

5  fi  'S 

P->  P'  Ph 

c  a  -o  .    s?  "^  vs  "^ 
^  "^  15  ^  -e 'E 'S 'S 


Besides  these  moneys  the  paper  notes  of  Heentsung, 
A.D.  807,  the  leather  notes  of  Edgar,  king  of  Wessex, 
and  of  Ruric  of  Novgorod^  also  porcelain  coins  of  Thibet 
and  Siani;  were  probably  seen  at  this  fair  ;  but  we  have 
no  accounts  of  thera.  There  was  also  probably  employed 
at  this  fair,  as  we  know  there  was  at  the  fairs  of  Baldwin 
III, in  Flanders,  a  system  of  clearings  called  ' 'permutation," 
by  which  purchases  and  sales  were  offset  by  debits  and 
credits,  only  the  balances  of  which  were  settled  in 

Specimens  of  nearly  all  the  coins  mentioned  in  the 
above  table  have  been  found  in  Saxony  or  Scandinavia. 
The  finds  of  moslem  coins  number  tens  of  thousands,  the 
earliest  being  those  of  Abd-el-Melik  (a.d.  684-705),  and 
the  latest  of  Al  Kader  (1010).  At  this  period  the  moslems 
had  mastered  India.  Coins  of  Abd-el-Melik,  Hacham 
:  (724-43),  Walid  II  (743-4),  Merwan  II  (744-50),  Abbas 
'(750-4),  Al  Mansur  (754-75),  and  Al  Mahdi  (775-85), 
together  with  others,  have  been  found  near  Christiania, 
and  one  coin  of  the  last-named  caliph,  together  with 
several  other  moslem  coins,  at  Eker,  between  Konigsberg 
and  Drammen.  A  gold  coin  of  Haroun-al-Raschid  (786—809), 
besides  several  other  gold  and  silver  moslem  coins,  were 
found  atTeisen  Tundet,  near  Christiania,  and  are  now  in  the 
museum  at  that  place,  where  I  personally  inspected  them 
in  1892.  More  than  twenty  thousand  moslem  coins  have 
been  found  in  Gotland  and  elsewhere  in  Sweden,  some  of 
them  struck  by  the  caliphs  of  Spain."  The  choicest  of 
these,  together  with  some  specimens  of  the  porcelain 
coins  of  Thibet  and  Siam,  are  in  the  Christiania  collection. 
None  of  the  leather  or  paper  moneys  alluded  to  in  the 
table  are  known  to  exist  at  the  present  day. 

From  the  period  of  Ruric  (a.d.  862),  whom  the  moslems 
3alled  a  Frank  or  a  Feringhese,  and  the  Greeks  a  Va- 
rangian, a  new  era  began  for   Scandinavia.      In   Norway 

'  "  Annales  Flandrise,"  Anno  958  ;  "  Middle  Ages  Revisited,"  ch.  xviii. 

^  L.  B.  Stenei"son. 


Harold  Harfager  (865—933)  united  tlie  jarldoms  and 
established  the  kingdom ;  although,  in  consequence  of 
the  conversion  of  Olaf  Trygvaeson  (995— 8) ,  a  civil  war 
afterwards  ensued,  and  Norway  was  divided  (a.d.  1000) 
between  Denmark  (whose  king  had  accepted  Christianity) 
and  Sweden,  which  had  not.  Under  Canute  (1014—35) 
Norway  formed  part  of  his  united  realms  of  Denmark, 
England,  and  Norway,  and  under  Magnus  it  again  be- 
came a  sole  kingdom. 

After  the  death  of  Gotfried  by  poison  in  819,  Den- 
mark was  awarded  by  the  pope  to  Harold,  who  had  been 
baptised  at  the  Court  of  Louis  le  Debonnaire  ;  but  the 
Danes  do  not  seem  to  have  been  disposed  to  accept  a 
Christian  king  until  nearly  two  centuries  later. 

Like  Norway,  Sweden  was  ruled  by  petty  fylkings, 
until  Biorn  united  them  under  one  crown  and  Eric  Arsell 
(993—1001)  acquired  part  of  Norway.  Thus,  in  the  three 
Scandinavian  kingdoms  there  existed  a  peculiar  interval, 
which  began  in  Denmark  with  Gotfried,  in  Sweden  with 
Biorn,  and  in  Norway  with  Harold  Harfager,  and  ended 
in  all  of  them  with  the  plunder  of  the  temple  at  Upsala 
by  Hakon  Jarl  and  the  definitive  establishment  of 
Christianity  in  the  eleventh  century.^  During  this  interval 
all  the  Scandinavian  states  united  their  petty  rulers,  and 
became  sole  kingdoms  ;  they  were  freed  from  the  evils  of 
divided  government,  though  as  yet  they  were  strangers 
o  the  trammels  of  Rome.  They  were  devoted  to  traflSc, 
?and  possessed  an  emporium  in  the  powerful  republic  of 
Novgorod,  through  which  passed  a  lucrative  commerce 
V  ij  with  the  Orient.  "  Who  can  resist  the  gods  and  Novgo- 
rod V  ran  an  exultant  proverb  of  the  period.  But  with 
the  termination  of  this  interval,  the  Hansa,  which  before 
the  Carlovingian  era  possessed  emporia  or  staples  at 
every  port  of  northern  and  western  Eui'ope,  was  restricted 
to  those  only  which  adhered   to  the   pagan  religion;   for 

^  Hakon  Jarl  (who  had  been  baptised  in  Denmark)  plundered  the  great 
temple  in  Gotland  and  got  much  property.     Jomsviking  saga,  ch.  i. 


the  Christians   i-efused   it   all   accommodotion.      Thus,  in 
the  tenth  century  Lhe  Hanseatic  commerce  was  confined, 
first,  to   the   Scandinavian   states,  which   being  compara- 
tively poor  and  sparsely  populated  could  take  but  little  of 
it;   second,  to   some   of   the    French,    English,    and    Ii'ish 
ports  ;   and  third,   to   moslem   Spain.      This    last   was   its 
chief  dependence.    In  the  eleventh  century,  as  Christianity 
was  introduced  into  the  northern  Courts  (the  first  Christian 
pennies  known  to  have  been  struck  in  Norway  were  those 
of  Harold   Hardrade  (1047—66),  the   trade  of  the   pagan 
Hansa    was   almost    exclusively   with    Spain.       The   civil 
wars   in   which    that    country   was    involved    during    the 
minority  of    Hachem  II,  greatly  injured   the  trade  of  the 
Hansa.   Mahomet  ben  Hachem  and  other  usurpers  mounted 
the  throne  of  Coi-dova ;   the   city  was   taken   and  retaken 
several  times  ;  the  aid  of   Christian   princes  was  invoked 
by  both  parties,  and   always  with   loss  of  territory.      By 
the  middle  of  the  eleventh  century  the  sun  of  the  Omeiads 
went    down,    and  the   prosperous    epoch   of    the    Spanish 
Arabs    came    to    an    end.^       This    was    the     death-blow 
to   the    Gothic    Hansa.       It   lost   its    remaining    emporia 
in  the  west.       It  might  buy,   but  it  could  no  longer  sell. 
Except  as  to  the  now  distracted  kingdoms  of  Cordova  and 
Granada,  Christianity  had  built  a  commercial  wall  around 
the  whole  of   Europe,    within    which  no  pagan  was  per- 
mitted  to   trade.      So  the  great  ships   of   the   Norsemen 
folded  their  wings  and  retired  to   the   Baltic,   while  the 
pagan    league    of    the  Hansa  underwent  the    process   of 
christianisation,  and  fitted   itself  for  a  new  career.      The 
profits   of  the  Hansa  offered  to  the    mediaeval   church   a 
powerful  lever  of    evangelisation.      During  the    interval 
following  the  civil  wars  in  Spain,  and  before  the   earliest 
mention  of  the  Christian  Hansa  (a.d.  1140),  occurred  the 
definitive    conversion    of    all    the    Gothic    sovereigns    to 
Christianity  ;    in    Sweden    Ingo    I,    in    Norway    Harold 
Hardrade,  and  in  Denmark  Waldemar  I;  though  judging 
1  Calcott's  "  History  of  Spain,"  ch.  vii. 


from  the  tone  of  some  of  their  letters  to  the  pope,  the 
Norsemen  accepted  the  ne^v  dispensation  with  no  little 
distrust  of  Rome.^  Christianity  is  said  to  have  been 
introduced  into  the  whole  "  empire/'  including  Novgorod^ 
by  Vladimir  (him  of  the  800  wives  and  12  sons)  in  the 
year  989  ;  but  the  fratricidal  wars  between  the  sons  of 
Yaroslov  render  it  all  but  certain  that,  at  least  so  far  as 
Novgorod  and  Kief  are  concerned,  those  great  trading 
centres  did  not  accept  it  until  about  the  period  of  the  fall 
of  Constantinople.  By  the  middle  of  the  thirteenth  cen- 
tury the  process  of  christianisation  was  completed.  Kings, 
people,  shipping,  wore  a  new  crown,  a  new  dress,  a 
new  flag.  One  more  reform  remained  to  be  accomplished. 
The  Jews,  who  had  officiated  as  go-betweens  in  the 
commerce  of  the  old  Hansa  aud  the  earlier  commerce  of 
the  new  Hansa  with  Spain,  were  no  longer  needed. 
Accordingly  some  few  thousands  of  them  were  slaughtered 
in  the  streets  of  London  and  Paris,  and  the  rest  banished 
to  moslem  Spain — or  to  Hades.  When  these  middle- 
men were  quite  disposed  of,  prices  advanced  and  trade 
became  far  more  profitable. 

The  earliest  coins  imputed  to  the  kings  of  Sweden  are 
the  silver  pieces  of  Biorn,  a.d.  818,  which  imitated  those 
of  Charlemagne  even  to  the  cross  stamped  upon  them, 
although  Biorn  was  not  a  Christian."  The  next  earliest 
moneys  of  the  North  appear  to  have  been  the  leather- 
notes  of  Euric,  862-79.'^  Between  this  date  and  the  reign 
of  Olaf  Trygvaeson  of  Norway  we  continue  to  read  of 
fairs.      There,  money  must  have  been  employed,*  but  no 

1  Waldemav,  King  of  Denmark,  to  the  Bishop  of  Eome,  greeting  (this 
was  Gregory  XI.  who  had  threatened  him  with  excommunication)  :  "  We 
hold  our  life  from  God,  our  kingdom  from  our  subjects,  our  riches  from 
our  parents,  and  our  faith  from  thee,  the  which  if  thou  wilt  not  grant  it 
to  us  any  longer  we  do  by  these  presents  resign.  Farewell."  Boulain- 
villiei-s,  "  Life  of  Mahomet,"  p.  3. 

^  Humphreys  "  Coin  Manual,"  p.  529. 

^  "  Money  and  Civilisation,"  p.  294. 

*  See  the  Flateyarbok  and  the  Faerynga  and  Olaf  Trvgvaeson  sagas 
(oh.  v). 


native  coins  ascribed  to  this  period  appear  iu  the  public 
collections^  at  all  events,  not  in  those  of  Christiania, 
Paris,  or  London.  About  the  date  of  the  battle  of 
Brunanburgh,  Ethelstan,  or  Etheh-ed,  is  said  to  have 
offered  Olaf  a  skilling  for  every  plough  in  his  kingdom, 
if  he  would  make  peace. ^  This  skilling  I  take  to  have 
been  the  quarter-dinar  of  about  16  grains. 

There  are  no  Christian  coins  of  Norway  until  Hakon 
Jarl,  who  appears  to  have  conveyed  the  plunder  of 
Upsala  to  England,  for  the  "  pennies  '^  which  he  struck 
from  it,  and  of  which  Rome  received  its  share  as  Peter's 
pence,  bear  the  names  of  Anglo-Saxon  moneyei-s."  Nor, 
as  before  stated,  are  there  any  native  Christian  coins 
until  Harold  Hardrade.  These  circumstances  offer  an 
emphatic  contradiction  to  the  monkish  story  of  the  con- 
version of  Norway  by  Olaf  Trygvaeson,  for  the  Roman 
religion  and  monetary  system  always  went  hand  in  hand. 
It  is  not  denied  that  Olaf  himself  may  have  beeu  con- 
verted, nor  that  he  committed  the  cruelties  with  which  he 
is  said  to  have  punished  those  who  refused  to  accept  his 
new  religion  ;  but  it  is  held  that  the  evidence  of  the  coins 
and  the  nomenclature  of  moneys  both  go  to  prove  that 
paganism  was  still  the  religion  of  the  people.  This 
numismatic  evidence  is  supported  by  other  circumstances. 
Olaf's  son,  Olaf   II,  was   expelled    from  the   kingdom  by 

^  Egil  saga.  The  period  of  this  transaction  was  about  that  of  the 
battle  of  Brunanburgh  (Northumberland),  A.D.  937.  Tlie  skilling  here 
mentioned  was  probably  the  quarter-dinar  of  16J  grains.  This  same 
Ethelred  paid  more  than  167,000  "pounds  o£  silver"  as  danegeld  (Du 
Chaillu,  ii,  p.  222).  Some  commentators  regard  this  to  mean  167,000 
pounds  weight  of  silver  bullion.  Dr.  Henry  (Notes,  18),  with  more 
reason,  makes  it  £167,000  money.  But  it  is  useless  to  conjecture  what  it 
means  until  we  know  the  date  when  (assuming  the  statement  to  be  true) 
the  phrase  "pounds  of  silver"  was  translated  from  its  original  terms. 

-  Greijer.  The  Ynlinga  saga  informs  us  that  for  a  time  the  tax  of 
Rome  scat  was  collected  from  the  people  "  for  Odin."  Very  likely.  But 
it  is  pretty  safe  to  conclude  that,  unless  he  lived  in  Rome,  Odin  never 
got  any  of  it. 


Canute  in  1028  and  killed  in  1030.  After  Olaf  s  expulsion 
Canute  reigned  until  1029,  and  after  him  reigned  his  son 
Sveyn^  1030-35,  both  of  them  christian  but  anti-papal 
kings.  In  1036  Magnus  I,  the  natural  son  of  Olaf  II,  and 
a  protege  of  Rome,  was  awarded  the  kingdom  of  Denmark 
and  Norway  by  the  Papal  See.  In  1046  Harold  Hardrade 
took  the  kingdom,  invaded  England,  and  entered  York. 
After  Harold^s  defeat  at  Stanford  Bridge  in  1066  his  son, 
Olaf  III,  with  Magnus  II,  became  joint  kings  of  Norway, 
and  in  the  following  year  Hakon  became  king  of  Sweden. 
In  1069  Olaf  III,  became  sole  king  of  Norway,  and  it  was 
not  until  the  reign  of  his  contemporary,  Ingo  I,  of 
Sweden,  that  the  great  pagan  temple  at  Upsala  was 
destroyed,  about  1075,  and  Christianity  definitely  though 
not  yet  universally  established  in  that  country.^  Nor 
was  it  until  1152  that,  taking  advantage  of  the  dissentions 
between  Magnus  lY,  and  Harold,  the  Papal  See  succeeded 
in  establishing  an  arch-bishopric  at  Trondheim  in  Norway. 
Nor  again  was  it  until  after  two  centuries  of  civil  wars, 
during  which  the  history  of  that  country  is  written  only  with 
the  sword,  the  bludgeon,  and  the  torch,  that  Christianity 
was  universally  established  under  Magnus  YI,  the  Legisla- 
tor. The  intimate  racial,  religious,  political,  and  dynastic 
connection  between  the  states  of  the  Gothic  peninsular, 
render  it  highly  improbable  that  either  of  them  adopted 
the  new  religion  much  before  the  other.  Sweden  could 
not  have  been  entirely  evangelised,  whilst  Norway  was 
shedding  its  blood  in  the  played-out  cause  of  Odin;  nor 
Norway  have  been  a  Christian  state,  so  long  as  pagan 
sacrifices  smoked  upon  the  polluted  altars  of  Upsala." 

In  the  ninth  century  the  Scandinavian  mark  of  money 
contained  240  grains  of  gold,  or  1920  grains  of  silver;  in 

^  "  Ancient  Britain,"  xiv,  p.  5.  Adam  of  Bremen  described  the  temple 
of  Upsala  as  being  roofed  with  gold  and  filled  with  the  greatest  riches 
(Du  ChaiUu). 

2  During  the  pagan  era  Upsala  was  the  name  for  all  Sweden.  It 
sounds  curiously  like  the  Ober-saala  or  Ober-icssel  of  the  Low  Countries. 


the  thirteentli  century,  reign  of  Magnus  YI,  there  were  no 
gold  marks,  whilst  the  silver  mark  only  contained  about 
1200  grains.  At  the  ratio  which  prevailed  on  the  Con- 
tinent these  were  worth  100  grains,  whilst  in  Scandinavia 
they  were  valued  at  150  grains,  of  gold.  In  the  reign  of 
Magnus  VII  (Smek),  1819-43,  a  mark  weight  of  silver 
was  coined  into  five  marks  of  money,  and  half-a-mark 
was  deducted  for  seigniorage.  If  this  was  fine  silver, 
each  mark  contained  720  grains,  or  about  the  quantity  in 
two  American  or  Mexican  dollars  of  the  present  day ;  but 
I  am  inclined  to  believe  that  all  these  quantities  were  of 
standard  metal.  During  this  reign  copper  coins  were 
first  employed  in  Norway,  and  toward  the  close  of  it  even 
leather  money  was  introduced,  each  piece  studded  with  a 
silver  rivet.  The  device  of  leather  money  had  been 
carried  from  Novgorod  to  England,  where  Edgar  of 
Wessex,  959-75,  made  use  of  it ;  from  England  to 
Norway,  where  it  was  employed  in  988  by  Olaf  I  ;  from 
Norway  to  France,  where  it  was  used  by  Philip  I,  1060- 
1108  ;  and  from  France  to  Sicily,  where  similar  money 
was  issued  by  "William  the  Bad,  1154-66.  It  now  again 
served  to  sustain  for  a  time  the  feeble  resources  of 
Norway  :  "  Coriaria  pecunia  certis  argenteis  punctis 
quibis  valor  in  pondere  et  numero  pensavetur  variata.'^  ^ 
But  the  State  was  exhausted  and  nothing  could  at 
present  revive  it.  In  1379  Norway  struck  her  last  coin.^ 
Then  she  lost  her  national  autonomy,  and  dropped  into 
the  lap  of  Margaret,  queen  of  Denmark.  From  this 
time  forward  until  the  epoch  of   Gustavus  Vasa,    Norway 

.ceased  to  be  an  independent  state. 

I  The  early  history  of  the  coinage  of  Sweden  differs  but 
little  from  that  of  Norway.  Both  of  these  states  were 
erected   by    "  Saxons,'^    who   sought  a  refuge  from  the 


'  Olaus  Magnus,  vii  (?),  ch.  xii,  in  Greijer's  "  History  of  Sweden," 

,p.  103. 

'  Humptreys. 


exterminating  wars  of  Cliarlemagne  ;  both  of  them  had 
thriven  upon  the  profits  of  the  Hansa,  and  both  of  them 
declined  when  the  Hansa  fell  under  the  control  of 
Rome.  As  if  to  render  this  decline  the  more  rapid,  both 
countries  were  overrun  with  a  horde  of  Roman  priests, 
who  fastened  themselves  like  vampires  upon  every  source 
of  revenue,  including  the  silver  mines.  They  reduced  the 
bondr  to  slavery,^  worked  them  in  the  mines,^  incited 
the  leudrmen  to  civil  war,  usurped  their  estates,  and 
amused  themselves  by  destroying  or  defacing  the  runic 
monumeats,  altering  the  sagas,  and  inventing  a  fabulous 
history  for  the  country  which  had  so  generously  filled 
their  stomachs  and  wallets.  For  venturing  to  question 
the  right  of  the  Roman  priesthood  to  the  estates  which 
they  had  stolen  from  the  lords,  their  elected  king,  Charles 
VIII  (Canutson),  was  solemnly  excommunicated  at  high 
mass  by  John,  Archbishop  of  Upsala,  assisted  by  six 
Swedish  bishops  and  the  rest  of  the  clergy.  "  Then  they 
went  out  of  the  church  to  commence  a  civil  war,  which 
lasted  seven  years,"  and  which  ended  with  the  defeat  of 
Charles  and  the  triumph  of  their  champion,  John  of 

In  1396,  during  the  reign  of  Margaret,  the  mark  of 
money  was  equal  in  value  to  45  Lubeck  skillings,*  each  of 
which  contained  about  9*43  grains  fine  silver,  a  proof  that 
the  mark  weight  of  Denmark  was  coined  during  this  reign 
into  8^  marks  of  money.  As  to  the  Christian  talent  of 
Scandinavia  which  seems  to  have  originated  at  this  period,  it 
was  identical  with  the  money  mark,  and  like  that  coin  it 
contained  about  424|  grains  of  fine  silver.  It  was  divided 
into  48  shillings  each  of  12  pennies.  Each  skilling  there- 
fore contained  about  8*843  grains  of  fine  silver.  Under 
Eric  YII  (the  Pomeranian),  king  of  Denmark,  also  known 
as  Eric  XIII,  of  Sweden  (a.d.  1434),  the  mark  weight 
continued  to  be  coined  into  8^  marks  of  money.  In  1470 
what  Humphreys  regards  as  half-pennies  of  silver  were  first 
1  Voltau-e.  2  Greijer.  ^  Voltaire.  *  Greiger,  p.  61,  n. 


coined,  but  it  is  not  safe  to  accept  the  denomination  of 
these  coins  from  an  authoi-  so  unfamiliar  with  Scandinavian 
monetary  law.  During  the  reign  of  John  II  (Hans),  of 
Denmark,  Norway,  and  Sweden  (1481—1513),  were  struck 
the  first  gold  coins  since  the  pagan  era.  These  were  of 
240,  120,  60,  and  30  grains,  and  were  apparently  intended 
to  pass  for  8,  4,  2,  and  1  marks  each  respectively. 
They  were  of  the  same  type  (an  armed  man  standing  in 
the  waist  of  a  ship)  as  the  gold  coins  of  Edward  III,  of 
England.  The  writer  found  several  specimens  of  them 
in  the  Christiana  collection,  one  in  Paris,  but  none  in  the 
London  collection. 

As  in  1509,  according  to  Greijer,  a  mark  weight  of 
silver  was  coined  into  12^  marks  of  money,  there  were 
about  288|  grains  to  the  mark.  If  this  conclusion  be 
well  founded,  and  the  gold  coins  were  pure,  the  ratio  was 
9'6  for  one,  thus  288^  -r  30  =  9*6  ;  but,  as  coinage 
metal  was  used  in  both  cases,  and  as  the  gold  and  silver 
standards  differed,  the  ratio  was  intended  to  be  10  for  1. 
This  agrees  with  the  prevailing  ratio  of  the  period  in 
northern  Europe  generally.  I  have  met  with  a  statement 
elsewhere  that  the  mark  weight  of  silver  in  1509  was 
coined  into  5  marks  of  money,  but  I  can  neither  reconcile 
this  with  Greijer^s  statement  nor  with  probability. 

We  now  enter  upon  a  period  of  great  interest  in  the 
monetary  history  of  Scandinavia — the  period  of  Gustavus 
Yasa,  the  liberator  of  his  country,  and  the  political  founder 
of  the  Protestant  religion.  The  reign  of  Christian  II.  had 
been  signalised  by  the  greatest  atrocities.  Denmark  and 
Sweden  were  the  earliest  to  accept  the  religion  of  Luther 
(1517),  which  at  that  period  consisted  of  little  more  than 
a  protest  against  the  avidity,  the  tyranny,  and  the  impious 
sacraments  (so  they  were  regarded)  of  Rome  ;  and  in  1517 
the  senate  of  Sweden,  wearied  with  the  exactions  and 
tyranny  of  Troll,  the  Roman  archbishop  of  Upsala  and 
the  primate  of  the  kingdom,  passed  a  resolution  recom- 
mending his  retirement  to  a  monastery.      Whereupon  Troll 



obtained  a  bull   from  the  Pope  forbidding   the  execution 
of    their    recommendation    and    annulling    their   decrees. 
Not   content  with   this,   the  vindictive   primate   prepared, 
for  them  a  fearful  vengeance.      At  his  instigation,  King 
Christian,  in  1520,  invited  two   bishops,  the  whole  senate] 
of  Stockholm,  and  ninety-four  lords,  to  sup  with  him  at  his 
palace.  There,  with  the  Pope's  bull  in  his  hand.  Troll  caused] 
the  whole  company  to  be  butchered,  and  the  grand  prior  of  j 
St.  John  of    Jerusalem   to  be  ripped  open  and   his  heart! 
plucked   out.      The   two    monsters   (Christian   and   Troll) 
concluded    their    entertainment    by    ordering    a    general 
massacre   of  the  Lutherans   without  distinction  of    rank,! 
age,  or  sex.^      This  abominable  act  summoned  the  entire] 
nation  to  arms,  and   for   a   leader  and    king  they  electee 
Gustavus  Vasa,  the  nephew  of  Charles  VIII  (Canutson). 

At  that  period  the   Pope's  legate   in  Denmark  was   anj 
Italian   named  Arcemboldi.      Such  was   his   avidity  that,J 
by  the  sale  of  indulgences  and  other  artifices,  he  managec 
to  squeeze   out  of  the   poorest  country  in  Europe  nearly! 
"  two  millions  of  florins,"  and  was  on  the  point  of  remit* 
ting  this  plunder  to  Rome  when  Christian  seized  it  upoi 
the  pretext  of  needing  it  to  subdue   his  excommunicatec 
siibjects.^      A  further  measure  of  this  exemplary  monarcl 
was  the  emission  of  certain  base   silver  pieces,  composec 
chiefly  of  copper,  and  cut  with  a  shears,  from  which  the] 
derived  the  vulgar  name  of  "  Christian's  klippings."      Oi 
the  one  side  was  the  impress  of    an   armed  man,  on  th^ 
■other  three  crowns.^ 

■It  was  at  this  juncture  that  Gustavus  Vasa  appearec 
upon  the  scene.  The  people  were  impoverished  ;  thej 
were  unorganised ;  they  had  no  firearms  ;  *  but  Chi-istiai 
(who  was  a  tyrant  as  well  as  a  zealot)  and  his  minister  (whc 
was  little  better  than  a  wild  beast)  had  combined  to  offei 
them  the  grossest  indignities  and  inflJct  upon  them  th€ 
greatest  injuries.      These  had  fired  the  Gothic  blood.      li 

1  Voltaire,  iv,  p.  65. 
5  Greijer,  p.  103.    - 

-  Voltaire,  lii,  p.  185. 
*  Voltaire,  iii,  p.  186. 


was  not  merely  Norway  and  Sweden  tliat  rose  up  to  throw 
off  the  shackles  of  Eome,  it  was  all  Scandinavia.  Lubeck 
supplied  troops  and  firearms,  and  the  Chersonesus 
Cimbrica — that  is  to  say,  Jutland,  or,  as  it  was  now  called, 
the  Duchy  of  Schleswick — transmitted  to  the  tyrant  of 
Denmark  a  demand  of  deposition  which  was  read  to  him 
by  a  single  unarmed  man,  the  chief  magistrate  of  the 
Jutes,  whose  act  should  never  be  permitted  to  fall  into 
oblivion.  This  hero's  name  was  Mons,  and  it  deserves 
to  be  written  over  the  gateway  of  every  oppressor.  The 
unlooked-for  result  of  Mons's  brave  act  was  the  abdica- 
tion and  flight  of  the  cowardly  Christian,  His  uncle 
Frederick  was  chosen  in  his  place,  and  became  king  of 
Denmark  and  Norway  j  but  the  real  sovereign  of  Scan- 
dinavia was  Gustavus  Yasa,  Him  the  Swedish  senate  had 
elected  king  ;  and  thenceforth  Sweden  became  au  inde- 
pendent kingdom  and  the  centre  of  Scandinavian  political 

In  conducting  the  revolution,  which  was  crowned  with 
the  liberation  of  Scandinavia  and  the  establishment  of  the 
Protestant  religion,  Gustavus  made  avail  of  the  monetary 
de^"ice  instituted  by  Christian,  The  latter  had  introduced 
the  klippings  for  the  sake  of  personal  profit  ;  Gustavus 
issued  them  for  the  benefit  of  his  country.  Christian 
issued  his  klippings  in  the  place  of  the  silver  coins  of  the 
kingdom,  which  he  obtained  by  taxation,  melted  down, 
and  sold  to  foreigners  for  his  own  emolument;  Gustavus 
issued  his  klippings  to  sustain  the  cause  of  liberty. 

And  let  it  be  remarked  that  I  am  not  here  advo- 
cating a  policy,  but  chronicling  an  historical  fact ;  all 
the  great  enfranchisements  of  society  have  been  accom- 
plished with  the  aid  of  fiduciary  money.  The  Spartans 
won  their  liberties  with  the  iron  discs  of  Lycurgus  ;  the 
Athenians,  before  the  Alexandrian  period,  rehabilitated 
the  republic  with  ''  nomisma,''  a  highly  overvalued  copper 
issue  ;  the  Romans  overthrew  their  kings  with  the  aid 
of  overvalued  "  nummi/'  whose  emissions  were  controlled 


and  regulated  by  tlie  State^  ex  senatus  consulto.  The 
earliest  republic  in  Europe  which  had  the  courage  to 
defy  the  moribund  hierarchy  of  Csesar  was  that  of 
Novgorod,  whose  money  was  impressed  upon  leather 
and,  doubtless,  issued  by  the  State  ;  the  money  of  the 
Scandinavian  revolution  was  the  "  klippings  "  of  Gustavus 
Yasa,  which  were  issued  by  the  State ;  the  money  by 
the  aid  of  which  Gustavus  Adolphus  saved  the  Protestant 
religion  from  being  stamped  out  by  Ferdinand  the  Catholic 
was  overvalued  copper  "  rundstyks/'  issued  by  the  State  ; 
the  money  of  the  Dutch  revolution  was  the  pasteboard 
"  dollars  ''  issued  by  the  city  of  Leyden  ;  of  the  American 
revolution,  the  paper  notes  issued  by  the  colonial  govern- 
ments ;  of  the  French  revolution,  the  "  assignats "  and 
"  mandats ''  issued  by  the  National  Assembly  ;  and  of 
the  anti-slavery  war  in  the  United  States,  "  greenbacks/' 
All  these  moneys  were  issued  and  the  emissions  were 
controlled  by  the  State.  They  were  not  individual 
notes,  nor  private  bank  notes,  but  essentially  State 
notes.  Indeed,  the  issuance  of  fiduciary  moneys  by  the 
State  has  so  commonly  attended  all  social  enfranchise- 
ments, that  the  occurrence  of  one  of  these  events  is 
almost  a  certain  indication  of  the  other.  There  is  a 
reason  for  this,  a  reason  that  lies  upon  the  surface. 
When  the  people  take  the  government  of  a  country 
into  their  own  hands  wealth  naturally  hides  itself,  and 
the  first  form  of  wealth  to  disappear  is  the  precious 
metals.  The  moment  a  revolution  or  a  civil  war  is  de- 
clared gold  and  silver  disappear.  Thereupon  the  emission 
of  fudiciary  money  by  the  State  becomes  imperative,  or 
else  the  revolution  runs  the  risk  of  immediate  failure,  for 
money  is  needed  to  purchase  subsistence  and  arms,  to  pay 
troops,  and  generally  to  carry  on  the  new  government. 

Such  were  the  klippings  of  Gustavus  Yasa.  Greijer 
says  that  they  were  valued  in  the  laws  at  four  times  their 
metallic  worth.  They  were  fabricated  at  Hedemora  in 
1520,  and  after  having  served  the  objects   of  the  revolu- 


tion  were  decried  or  repudiated  in  1524  witliout  any 
complaint  from  the  people.  Indeed,  with  these  klippings, 
as  with  the  pasteboard  dollars  of  Leyden,  the  people 
preserved  them  in  grateful  memory  of  their  liberation. 

Before   going  any  further,  it  becomes   necessary  for  a 

clear   understanding  of   what   follows   to  trace  the  mark 

weight,  the  mark  of  money,  and  the  riksdaler,  reichthaler, 

or  imperial   dollar,  from    the    period  of    the   conjectural 

Novgorod  table  to   the  latest  times.      In  a  table  printed 

below,   the  mark  of  Knric  is  given  at  3600  grains.      This 

is  adopted  because  it  is  an  even  figure,  and  agrees  with  the 

Anglo-Saxon  mark   brought   to   England ;    but  it  is  more 

than  probable  that  the   mark   of  this  period  was,  in  fact, 

made  to   agree   with   the  weights    of   the  Arabian    coins, 

which  at  that  time  formed  the   principal  currency  of  the 

Baltic,  and,  therefore,  that  it   weighed   some  multiple  of 

the  dirhem.      The  Danish  and   Norwegian  common  mark 

is  given  at  3631*139  grains,  and  the  Danish  and  Norwegian 

mint  mark  at 3607-77455  grains,  both  by  Schmidt's  (Tate's) 

Cambist.      The  mark  of  Stockholm  is  given   by  Kelly  at 

4384    Swedish    iesen,    or   3252   English   grains.       In   tlie 

former  case  I  have  adopted  3607|  grains,  and  in  the  latter 

3250  grains,  as  sufficiently  exact  for  the  mint  mark.      In 

the  numerous  changes  of  government  which  have  occurred 

to    the    Scandinavian    States,    it    is    not    always    easy  to 

determine    what   weights   were    used    by   the   mints.      In 

selecting  the  mark  believed  to  have  been  used  for  coinage 

I  have  sometimes  been  guided  by  the  nationality  of  the 

issuing  sovereign,  sometimes  by  the  place  of  mintage,  and 

sometimes  by  the  actual  weights  of  extant  coins  ;   but  as 

these  were  often  of  irregular  alliage,  I  am  not  confident 

of   having   been   always    successful.       However,    for    the 

purposes  of   the  table   referred  to,  the    difference    is   not 


The  silver  talent,  or  thaler,  as  shown  in  the  chapter 
of  this  work  on  the  Moneys  of  Germany,  was  the  Roman 
equivalent  in  value  of  a  gold  solidus,  afterwards  known  as 


a  ducat.  Hence,  during  the  Renaissance,  wlien  tlie  ducat 
contained  about  56^  grains,  and  in  the  Ecclesiastical  States, 
where  the  ratio  was  12  for  1,  the  talent  contained  about 
678  grains,  whilst  in  the  Italian  Republics  (ratio  10  for  1) 
it  contained  565^  grains  fine.  Such  was  originally  the 
contents  of  the  croisat,  the  scudo,  the  ducatone,  etc.,  these 
names  and  others  meaning  the  same  broad  piece  as  the 
talent.  In  the  Scandinavian  States  during  the  fourteenth 
centuiy,  where  the  ratio  was  still  8  for  1,  the  mark  of 
money  contained  about  450  grains.  After  the  firm  estab- 
lishment of  Christianity  every  effort  was  made  by  the 
Chui'ch  to  eradicate  pagan  customs  and  reminiscences. 
The  use  of  runic  letters  was  forbidden,  the  names  of  pagan 
kings  were  suppressed,  the  pagan  sagas  were  revised, 
and  even  the  popular  use  of  pagan  names  for  moneys 
discouraged.  Hence  sild,  saicca,  styca,  thveit,  thrimsa, 
scat,  ortugar,  and  mark  successively  fell  into  disuse,  or 
were  changed  to  Christian  denominations.  It  was  in  this 
way  that  the  saicca  became  the  penny,  the  ora  was 
changed  into  the  shilling,  and  the  mark  was  metamor- 
phosed into  the  talent.  Notwithstanding  these  measures, 
it  proved  so  difficult  to  change  the  popular  names  that  the 
word  "  mark  "  continued  to  be  stamped  on  coins  so  late 
as  the  reign  of  Adolphus  Frederick.  However,  the  plan 
succeeded  far  enough  to  destroy  the  ancient  value  of  all 
pagan  contracts,  rentals,  revenues,  etc.,  and  this  indeed 
may  have  been  the  more  practical  object  in  view. 

Assuming  that  the  substitution  of  the  name  "  talent " 
for  the  "  mark  "  of  money  was  attempted  at  least  as  early 
as  the  reign  of  Margaret,  it  follows  that  the  former  con- 
tained at  that  period  452|  grains  gross,  or  424^  gi'ains 
fine  I  for,  as  already  shown,  such  were  the  contents  of 
the  money  mark.  From  that  period,  until  it  acquired  the 
name  of  "  riksdaler,'^  the  talent  can  be  traced  with  great 
precision.  Nearly  all  the  weights  in  the  following  table 
were  obtained  from  coins  in  the  Paris  collection,  kindly 
weighed    in    my  presence    by   M.   Casanova.      With   few 


exceptions  they  were  all  very  base,  many  of  them  showing 
a  heavy  alloy  of  copper.  Where  net  weights  are  given 
they  are  mostly  from  Greijer  and  from  the  appearance 
of  the  coins.  Greijer^s  weights  seem  too  high.  I  fancy 
that  the  standard  was  often  much  lower  than  the  historian 
assumed.  It  will  be  observed  that  in  the  reign  of  Eric 
XIV,  the  talent  suddenly  rises  from  about  450  to  560 
grains.  This  was  occasioned  by  changing  the  ratio  from 
8  to  10  for  1.  After  having  thus  strangely  but  unmis- 
takably asserted  its  identity  with  the  ancient  mark  of 
money,  the  (heavy)  talent  disappeared  altogether,  and  in 
the  succeeding  years  of  the  same  reign  it  was  replaced 
by  the  lighter  and  more  serviceable  riksdaler  of  about 
400  grains,  divided  (now)  into  8  degraded  marks.  Hence- 
forth, excepting  during  the  reign  of  Charles  XI,  and 
Charles  XII,  and  again,  during  the  Napoleonic  wars,  the 
riksdaler  kept  its  weight  pretty  well  ;  whilst  the  mark  of 
money,  which  had  anciently  contained  1920  grains  of  silver, 
was  so  often  degraded,  that  in  the  seventeenth  century  it 
contained  less  than  30  grains.  It  was  then  raised  a  little 
and  finally  destroyed  altogether.  It  is  noticeable  that 
both  the  talent  and  riksdaler,  like  the  later  solidi  of  the 
Byzantine  empire,  commonly  bore  the  effigy  of  Jesus 
Christ.  This  was  afterwards  changed  to  Jehovah,  in 
Hebrew  letters,  7^^Tl^  surrounded  by  a  circle  of  flames. 
A  later  form  of  this  type  was  the  legend,  "  Got  heppel," 
on  a  very  much  degraded  daler  of  1694. 





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The  Maek  weight  and  the  Silvee  Maek  of  Monet. 

The  following  table  shows  the  number  of  marks  of  money  struck  from 
the  mark  iceight  of  standard  silver  and  the  number  of  English 
grains  of  standard  silver  in  each  mark  of  money.  The  mark 
iveight  ofEuric  has  been  reckoned  at  3600,  of  Denmark  and  Norwaij 
at  36071  and  of  Sweden  at  3250  grains. 

Marks  in 




mark  wght. 


9  cent. 

Euric        .         .         .         . 




Magnus  VI 




Magnus  VII 




Hakon  V 








Eric  VII 








Gustavus  Vasa 



















Christa'i'n  III 




Eric  XIV 




John  III 
























Charles  IX 



:     1606 





Gustavus  Adolphus 



:     1628 




'     1629 













Charles  XI 












Charles  XII 



■    1711 




:    1719 




:  1750 



*1 12-00 


Adolphus  Frederick 



:    1762 





I  Notes  to  the  Table.  *  Deduced  from  the  gross  weight  of  coins  in 
:he  Paris  collection.  As  these  coins  are  greatly  and  variously  debased 
;he  deductions,  so  far  as  net  contents  are  concerned,  are  only  Approximative. 
,    t  Gross  weight. 


It  will  be  observed  that  in  the  ninth  century  the  mark 
of  money  contained  y\  of  a  mark  weight  of  silver  ;  in  the 
thirteenth  century  the  mark  weight  was  coined  into  3  marks 
of  money  ;  toward  the  middle  of  the  fourteenth  century 
into  5  marks  ;  toward  the  end  of  the  same  century  into 
8|  marks  ;  in  the  sixteenth  century  from  12^  to  65  marks  ; 
and  in  the  seventeenth  century  from  30  to  230  marks.  Al- 
though a  restoration  of  the  coinage  appears  to  have  taken 
place  in  1762  it  is  probable  that  the  silver  mark  of  money, 
except  as  hereinafter  mentioned^  disappeared  at  that  period 

If  we  turn  from  the  silver  to  the  gold  moneys  of  Scan- 
dinavia, the  information  supplied  to  us  by  historical  works 
and  coin  collections,  though  scant  enough  as  to  one, 
becomes  still  more  scant  with  respect  of  the  other  ;  and 
the  following  table  is  submitted  to  the  reader  not  without 
some  misgiving  as  to  its  entire  correctness.  However,  it 
is  the  best  that  can  now  be  made  of  the  subject.  T^e  « 
scale  of  equivalents  down  to  the  sixteenth  century  was  32 
ortugars  (afterwards  called  shillings)  to  the  money  mark ; 
for  example,  in  the  reign  of  John,  1481-1512,  there  appear 
to  have  been  always  32  ortugars  to  the  money  mark,  but 
in  the  reign  of  Gustavus  Vasa,  the  money  mark  was  divided 
into  24  ortugars.  At  this  point  the  gold  money  mark 
disappeared,  and  marks  were  henceforth  made  of  debasec 
silver.  In  1604,  according  to  Grreijer,  there  were  but  24 
ortugars  to  the  mark  ;  thus,  16  Gotland  or  8  Swedish 
pennies  =  1  ortugar ;  3  ortugars  =  1  ore ;  8  ore  = 
mark.  As  both  the  value  of  silver  to  gold,  and  the 
number  of  silver  coins  to  the  mark,  were  continually  lowerec 
by  legislation,  it  follows  that  the  contents  of  the  golc 
mark  diminished  with  great  rapidity,  a  fact  which  accounts 
for  its  disappearance.  The  ratio  of  silver  to  gold  from 
the  earliest  period  to  the  Renaissance  was  8  for  1  ;  during 
the  Renaissance  10  for  1  ;  after  the  Dutch  revolutiou 
about  13  for  1  ;  in  the  eighteenth  century  (1777)  14-82  for 
1 ;  and  since  that  time,  more  or  less,  the  same  as  in  the 


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We  are  now  pi'epared  to  trace  tlie  copper  system  of 
Scandinavia,  wliich,  as  with  Russia  before  the  present 
centurj^j  was  of  more  importance  than  either  the  gold  or 
silver  coins. 

The  copper  klippings  of  Christian  and  Gustavus 
Vasa  were  followed  in  1569  by  a  third  issue  of  the  same 
character.  These  were  the  klippings  of  John  III,  In 
1575  this  issue  was  retired,  and  the  country  was  relieved 
from  klippings  until  1589,  when  John  introduced  another 
issue  of  them.-^  Meanwhile  the  revolution  had  broken 
out  in  the  Nethei-lands,  and  the  burghers  had  taken  the 
monetary  system  into  their  own  hands  by  establishing 
private  or  individual  coinage.  It  was  now  no  longer 
Charles  V,  nor  the  counts  of  Holland  who  determined  how 
many  gold  ducats,  or  silver  dollars,  or  florins,  should  be 
coined  and  added  to  the  circulation,  but  the  burghers  of 
Leyden,  Deventer,  and  Amsterdam.  This  legislation  had 
been  followed  by  an  extraordinary  influx  of  the  precious 
metals  into  the  Dutch  ports.  The  example  and  good 
fortune  of  Holland  was  not  lost  upon  the  Swedes,  who 
perhaps  fancied  that  by  copying  the  leglislation  of  the 
United  Provinces  they  would  promote  a  like  influx  of 
silver  into  Stockholm.  But  they  were  mistaken.  It  was 
not  individual  coinage  which  had  filled  the  Dutch  ports 
with  gold  and  silver,  but  the  Dutch  fleets  and  buccaneers 
of  the  East  and  West  Indies,  and  the  Dutch  traders  in 
Japan.  However,  the  Swedes,  as  yet  unconscious  or 
heedless  of  these  circumstances,  went  on  with  their  second- 
hand legislation.  In  1604,  by  the  statute  of  Nordchepiug, 
it  was  enacted  that  half  an  ounce  (say  203  grains)  of 
standard  silver  should  pass  for  16  ore,  also  that  a  rix- 
daler  (398^  grains  standard)  should  pass  for  36  ore. 
This  decree  gave  an  advantage  to  coins  over  metal  of  about 
15  per  cent.,  a  pretty  heavy  seigniorage,  the  whole  of 
which  it  was  practical  to  evade  by  sending  the  silver  to 
Amsterdam  and  there  having  it  coined  into  florins  and 
1  Greijer,  p.  178. 


exchanged  for  Dutch  wares  aud  products  for  shipment  to 
Stockholm.  As  for  the  monetary  function,  which  this 
decree  conferred  upon  bullion,  it  was  wholly  ineffective. 
Nobody  wanted  bullion.  Even  although  he  got  15  per 
cent,  more  metal  in  the  same  sum,  he  preferred  dalers. 

In  1607,  the   king    (Charles    IX)^  tried   a   new  experi- 
,ment  in  money.      He  decreed  that  whosoever  brought   to 
the  mint   4  riksdalers  (1594  English  grains  of  silver),  or 
who   brought  4^  ounces  of   silver   (1828|-   grains),    should 
receive  4^  curi-eucy  dalers.^       I  have  not  the  text  of  this 
act    before  me,  and   cannot   give  either   the    contents   or 
value    of   these  new  dalers.      They   should   contain   about 
i350   grains   each,  but  I  have  found  no  such  coin   of  this 
date    in    the   Pai-is  collection.      As  no  limits  were  placed 
upon    the    deposits   of  silvei',  and  as  the  right  of  the   de- 
positor to  demand  coined   dalers   for  his   metal   was   not 
restricted,    this    decree  was    called   a    "  Patent    of    Free 
Coinage.^'      It  should  have  been  termed  "  An  act  enabling 
the  king  to  grant  to  the  burghers  one  of  the  chief  preroga- 
tives of  State.''      That  prerogative  was  the  right  and  the 
power  to  increase  the  currency  by  employing  the  mint  to 
turn  metal  into  coins,  and  the  right  to  diminish  the  currency 
by  melting  these  coins  down  to  metal.   With  such  a  see-saw 
as  this  in  hand    the  burghers  were  armed  with  a  terrible 
oower  over  tlie   fortunes  of  their  fellow-subjects.      For- 
ibunately  for  the  pi'osperity  of  Sweden   the  Dutch  system 
did  not  woi'k  successfully  in  that  country.      Sweden  was 
ooor  ;   no   vikings  now  entered  its  ports  laden    with    the 
jplunder    of    other    lands,  and  very  little    silver   was    in 
iirculation.      In    1613,  after  the   peace   with  Denmai^k,  a 
legraded  currency  daler  was  in  circulation  which  could  not 
lave  contained  more  than  about  266  grains,  for  it  required 
)ne  and  a  half  of  them  to  equal  in  value  one  riksdaler."    In 
he  same  year   the  ransom  of  Elfsborg  was  agreed  to   be 
)aid  in  four  years,  whereas,  in  fact,  it  was  not  paid  until 
he  end  of   six   years.      It  was   collected  by  a  tax  on  the 

^  Patent  of  January  7th,  1607.  ^  Greijer,  p.  221. 


people,   levied  according   to   class,  and  made  payable   in  i 
coins,  silver  bullion,  copper,  iron,  rye,  or  malt,  the  mer- 
chandise at  fixed  prices.^      Perhaps  the  best  proof  of  the  '' 
scarcity  of   money  consists  in  the  fact   that   in   1613  the 
inevitable    over-valued    coppers,    noAv    no    longer     called  y 
klippings  but '' rundstyks,"   again  made  their  appearance  " 
in  the  circulation.    This  was  followed  by  another  emission 
in  1625,  and  the  following  paraphrase  from   Mr.  Bryce's 
'Holy  Koman  Empire'  informs  us  to  what  a  memorable 
use  this  issue  was  put  to  by  the  king. 

''In    1619  Ferdinand  II.  ascended  the  imperial  throne 
of  Germany.      The  arrangements  of  Augsburg,  like  most 
treaties  on  the  basis  of  uti  possidetis,  were  no  better  than  a 
hollow  truce,  satisfying  no  one,  and  conscientiously  made  to 
be  broken.      The  Church  lands  which  the  Protestants  had 
seized  and  Jesuit  confessors  had  urged  the  Catholic  princes 
to   reclaim,  furnished   unceasing   ground  of  quarrel;   and 
the   smouldering  hate  of  both  parties  was  kindled  by  the  i 
troubles  of  Bohemia  in  the  Thirty  Years'  War.      Jealous,  i 
bigoted,  implacable,  skilful   in  forming  and   masking  his 
plans,  and  resolute   in  carrying  them  to  completion,  this  ' 
champion  of  Kome  had  as  nearly  destroyed  the  Protestant 
religion  of   Europe   as    Charlemagne  had    destroyed   the 
Arrian    Christianity    of    the   Lombards    and    the   ancient 
worship    of   the    Gothic    races.        Leagued    with    Spain,  < 
backed  by  the  Catholics   of  Germany,  and  served  by  such  i 
a  leader   as  Wallenstein,  Ferdinand  proposed  nothing  less  ' 
than  the  extension  of  the  empire  to  its  ancient  limits,  and 
the  recovery  of  its  suzerainty  over  all  the  Christian  states. 
Denmark   and   Holland    were  to  be  attacked  by  sea  and 
land ;  Italy  to  be  re-conquered  by  the  help  of  Spain  ;  and  ' 
Maximilian  of  Bavaria  and  Wallenstein  were  to  be  rewarded 
with  principalities  in    the    ancient    Gothic    provinces   of 
Mecklenburgh   and  Pomerania.      The  last-named  general  t 
was    all    but    master    of    the   northern    lands,    when  the  i 
successful    resistance    of    Stralsund    and    an    unexpected 
^  Greijer,  p.  221  n. 


event  of  still  greater  importance  turned  the  waverino- 
balance  of  tlie  war.  In  1630  the  Goths  once  more  crossed 
the  Baltic,  and  turned  their  arms  against  Rome.  Ferdi- 
nand had  required  the  restitution  of  all  Church  property- 
occupied  since  1555.  The  Protestants  -svere  helpless,  and 
Europe  was  on  the  point  of  being  again  subjected  to  the 
murderous  vengeance  of  Rome,  when  it  was  saved  by  the 
Gothic  king.  In  four  campaigns  he  destroyed  the  arms 
and  prestige  of  the  Catholic  emperor,  ravaged  his  lands,, 
emptied  his  treasury,  and  left  him  at  last  so  enfeebled, 
that  no  subsequent  success  could  make  him  or  his  cause 
again  formidable.'^ 

The  rundstyks  of  Gustavus  are  noteworthy  for  another 
•eason ;  they  gave  rise  to  one  of  the  most  interesting 
nonetary  experiments  known  to  the  history  of  the  north. 
iFhe  modern  sciolists  of  money  are  never  tired  of  chanting 
he  sing-song  of  the  dialecticians  that  money  is  a  com- 
.Qiodity — that  it  is  subject  to  the  economic  laws  pertain- 
ng  to  commodities,  among  which  is  '^  supply  and  demand, "^ 
ind  that  its  value  must  necessarily  conform  to  the  cost  of 
he  production  of  this  commodity.  If  this  be  true  it  can 
nake  no  essential  difference  of  what  commodity  money  is 
nade  provided  that  it  is  valuable,  imperishable,  susceptible 
if  being  readily  coined,  etc.,  nor  how  much  or  little  of  it  is 
oined.  We  are  now  about  to  see  a  monetary  system 
'ased  on  this  delusion.  The  overvalued  copper  money  of 
iweden,  issued  by  the  Crown,  reached  such  vast  propor- 
ions  that  by  the  middle  of  the  century  it  had  fallen  to 
,r  near  its  value  as  metal.  Thus,  at  a  period  when  the 
)utch  and  English  ports  were  enriched  with  the  plun- 
ered  treasures  of  India  and  America,  the  Gothic  de- 
enders  of  a  faith,  which  enabled  the  nobles  and  burghers 
f  those  lands  to  enjoy  this  wealth  in  peace,  were  en- 
uring the  bitterness  of  poverty  and  putting  up  with  the 
iconvenience  of  a  copper  currency. 

A  remarkable  document,  of  which  a  copy  exists  in  the 
Torden     collections,    delivered    by    Axel    Oxenstiern    ta 




Gustavus  Adolphus,  bears  this  title  :  "  According  to  his 
inajesty^s  gracious  command  this  is  my  humble  opinion 
touching  the  copper  trade  and  copper  coinage/' 
*'  So  long  as  copper  was  at  a  good  value,  and  the  coinage 
•was  limited  in  amount,  so  that  it  only  supplied  the  wants 
of  the  community,  and  answered  to  their  requirements, 
and  was  so  kept  within  bounds  that  he  who  wished  to 
have  silver  could  obtain  it,  one  coinage  was  as  good  as 
another  ;  but  after  the  value  of  copper  fell  it  drew  down 
the  coinage  with  it  and  diminished  its  value,  so  that  we 
may  indeed  suffer  and  be  silent  on  account  of  the  prince's 
edict,  but  that  does  not  alter  the  opinion  and  common 
sense  of  men."  He  then  advises  that  the  copper  mines 
should  be  thrown  open  to  individual  enterprise — the  sooner 
the  better — with  other  advice  concerning  the  copper  mines 
and  the  old  Copper  Company.^ 

After  the  death   of  Gustavus   the    embarrassments   of 
the  treasury   compelled  his  daughter  Christina   to  issue, 
in  1644,  a  sort  of   exchequer-bill,  known  by  the  name  of  i 
^'  assignats "  or   "  assignations,"    which    appear   to    have 
circulated    as    money.      Turning,    in    this    extremity,  to 
Holland  for  a  suitable  financial  expedient,  Sweden  found 
one   in    the  Wissel    Bank    of  Amsterdam,  and  in  1656  a 
private    institution,  on    much    the   same    plan,  was  esta- 
blished in  Stockholm  by  a  man  named  Palmstruck.      This  ■ 
bank   received  deposits   of    coin,  bullion,    and  rundstyks,  ' 
for  which  it   granted  credits,  and  in  1658   issued  receipts 
known  as  "  transport-notes,"  which,  from   their  superior 
convenience,  soon    drove   the    copper   rundstyks  into  the 
vaults   of   the   bank   and  usurped   their  place   in  the  cir- 
culation.     This    plan    worked   so   well  that    in    1668  the 

^  Greijer,  p.  295  n.     The  Copper  Company  was,  in  1629,  obliged  to 
Testore  the  copper  trade  to  the  Crown,  having  made  vain  attempts  to 
keep  up  the  price.     The  copper  coinage,  first  introduced  into  Sweden  in 
1625,  formed  part  of  this  system  (Ibid.,  p.  222).     Compare  the  treatise  on  , 
the  old  Copper  Company  and  copper  coinage  in  the  time  of  Gustavus  ^ 
Adolphus,  by  Master  Wingquist,  "  Scandia,"  vol.  iv  (Ibid.,  p.  227  n.). 


government  took  over  Palmstruck's  bank^  which  it  char- 
tered in  that  year  as  the  Riks-Bank,  or  Royal,  or 
National  Bank  of  Sweden,  and  embarked,  without  fur- 
ther reserve,  in  a  monetary  system  based  upon  copper 
metal.  It  cut  large  plates  of  hammered  copper  into 
squares  and  oblongs,  some  of  them  weighing  thirteen  or 
(fourteen  pounds,^  and,  stamping  them  with  an  appropriate 
device  and  their  value  (that  of  the  metal)  in  each  corner, 
issued  them  as  money. 

Upon  the  theory  of  the  schools  there  could  be  no  prac- 
tical objection  to  this  money  nor  to  the  "free  coinage" 
of  it,  except  its  bulk  and  weight,  and  as  to  bulk  and 
Iweight,  there  was  the  bank  ready  to  receive  it  on  deposit, 
and  to  issue  in  its  place  transport-notes  payable  in  copper- 
plates. But  soon  a  diflSculty  arose,  for  which  no  provision 
had  been  made,  and  which  the  schoolmen  had  not  foreseen  : 
the  value  of  copper  continued  to  fall,  and  with  it  fell 
the  purchasing-power  of  the  copper-plates,  and  of  the 
notes  that  repi'esented  them.  It  was  then  perceived  that 
gold  and  silver  made  a  superior  metallic  money,  not 
because  they  cost  more  than  copper  to  pi'oduce,  but  be- 
'oause  they  possess  an  attribute  which  is  possessed  neither 
by  copper  nor  any  other  commodity.  There  is  a  vast 
'accumulation  of  gold  and  silver  in  the  world  saved  up 
from  distant  ag-es.  Hence  their  value — which  is  not  that 
of  their  cost  of  production,  but  (with  open  mints)  that  of 
bheir  numbers  and  function  as  coins — is  slow  to  obey  any 
change,  however  great,  in  the  cost  of  producing  new 
'metal.  As  there  was  no  like  accumulation  of  copper,  every 
shipload  that  came  in  from  Amsterdam  further  and  further 
owered  its  value,  and  every  withdrawal  for  the  arts 
3nhanced  it.  At  length,  on  account  of  the  fluctuations 
Which  occurred  in  its  value,  it  became  entirely  useless  for 
none  J. 

'  One  of  these  plates,  formerly  in  my  possession,  was  10  inches  square, 
bree  eighths  of  an  inch  thick,  and  weighed  6  lbs.  13  oz.  avoirdupois 
3ut  I  have  seen  them  of  double  this  size  and  weight  in  the  Paris  col- 


During  the  Regency  of  Christina  (1633—45)  it  was  | 
resolved  that,  '^  Instead  of  the  copper  coinage  which  his 
late  Majesty  had  determined  to  let  fall  of  itself,  as  it  had 
already  mostly  disappeared,  a  good  and  sterling  coinage, 
yet  somewhat  under  the  standard,  should  be  issued.'^  ^ 
There  is  no  sterling  coinage  of  this  period  in  the  public 

"  The  copper  cross-pieces,  struck  and  issued  by  order 
of  Gustavus,  seem  to  have  had  no  currency.  The  Swedish 
agent  in  Holland,  Eric  Laurencson,  offers  to  send  them 
back  again  (Letter  of  the  Council  to  the  Chancellor, 
January  14,  1633).  The  government  was  constrained  to 
order  that  debts  which  had  been  contracted  in  copper 
money  should  be  paid  according  to  the  value  which  the 
riksdaler  bore  at  tbe  time,  namely,  until  1628,  Q\  marks 
to  the  riksdaler  ;  1629,  10  marks,  and  afterwards  14  marks,  0 
as  ascertained  by  the  Crown  receipts.  Thenceforth  the 
riksdaler  was  to  be  worth  6  marks,  or  48  ore,  but  the 
copper  ore,  or  rundstyks,  in  circulation  were  at  the  same 
time  depreciated  to  half  their  value,  and  the  government 
undertook  to  cause  silver  coins  to  be  struck."" 

The  failure  of  the  copper  ingot  system  gave  rise  to 
another  monetary  experiment,  this  time  with  a  tragic 
ending.  After  the  defeat  of  Charles  XII.  at  Pultowa  and 
his  return  from  captivity  money  was  scarce  and  credit  low 
in  Sweden,  but  the  genius  of  his  financial  adviser.  Baron 
Goertz,  saw  a  way  to  remove  every  difiiculty.  George 
Heinricb  de  Goertz,  Baron  von  Schlitz,  was  born  of  a  noble 
family  in  Holstein.  He  joined  Charles  XII.  at  Stralsund 
on  his  return  from  Turkey,  and  through  his  activity  and  in- 
telligence was  soon  placed  at  the  head  of  affairs.  His 
scheme  for  establishing  the  currency  was  to  issue  not 
copper  ingots  but  copper  dollars,  which,  as  they  bore  the 
king's  stamp,  were  made  full  legal  tenders,  and  were  light 
and  adapted  for  tbe  pocket,  he  imagined  would  circulate 
at  their  nominal  value  without  difficulty.  This  they  would 
1  Greijer,  p.  295  n.  '  Ibid. 


liave  done  but  for  several  circumstances,  none  of  which 
'  appear  to  have  been  sufficiently  considered  by  this  other- 
wise   excellent    and    conscientious    minister.      First,    the 
government   was    too    prostrate    and    weak    to    sustain   a 
'  fiduciary  money.    Second,  Goertz  did  not  place  any  limitation 
upon  the  coinage.      This  (limitation)  is  the  main  principle 
and  essence  of  money,  without  which — no  matter  of  what 
substance  the  symbols  are  made,  whether  of  gold,  silver, 
i  copper,  or  paper — it   must  fail  to   discharge  its   function 
equitably.      Third,  the   copper  dollars  which   he   struck, 
i  unlike  the  exquisitely  finished  sesterces   of    the    Roman 
:  Republic,  were  rudely  made  and  therefore  easily  counter- 
:feited.      Fourth,  he  seemed  indifferent  to  the  rights    or 
i  prejudices  of  the  ecclesiastical,  noble,  and  burgher  classes, 
■  whose  rents  and  other  sources  of  income  were  grossly  and 
■inequitably  reduced  through    his  neglect  to    secure   the 
overvalued  dollars  from  depreciation.      He  caused  to  be 
struck  upon  these  dollars,  not  the  images  of  the  ancient 
Gothic  gods,  as  some  authors  allege,  but  of  Jupiter,  Mars, 
Phoebus,  Saturn,  etc.,  and  this,  too,  was  deemed  an  offence 
to    those   who    were   injured   by    the   depreciation    which 
occurred.      The  pieces  were  of  about  the  same  size  as  a 
silver  shilling  of  to-day,  and  were  stamped  ''  4  daler  silf . 
mynt,"  being  overvalued  nearly  a  hundred  times.    Finally, 
as  if  to  render  these  coins   as  odious   as  possible,  it  was 
asserted  and  believed  that  after  an  interval  the  tax  officers 
would  be  instructed  to  refuse  them  in  payment  of  taxes 
from  the  peasants,^  but  such  inequity  and  rashness   seems 
incredible.      This   system,   coupled  with    issues    of    base 
silver    coins,  heavy  copper  plates,  and  paper   notes,    to 
neither  of  which  were  any  limits  prescribed  or  observed, 
continued  in   force  during  the   life  of  the  king  ;  but  the 
■moment  his  death  occurred,  in  1718,  and  his  sister  Ulrica 
•Elenora  mounted  the  throne,  a  declaration  was  promul- 
gated whereby  the  paper  notes  were  wholly  abolished,  and 
the  copper  dalers  were  reduced  by  several  successive  steps 

1  Ibid. 


to  something  near  their  metallic  value.  The  next  measures 
taken  by  the  princess  royal  and  her  council  are  thus 

"  A  charge  was  drawn  up  against  Goertz,  who  was 
accused  of  peculation,  of  having  ruined  public  credit  by 
imaginary  money,  of  having  formed  a  design  to  destroy 
the  king  and  army  by  advising  him  to  a  ruinous  campaign 
in  the  inhospitable  kingdom  of  Norway,  and  so  on.  .  .  . 
Goertz,  to  whom  the  assistance  of  counsel  was  refused, 
defended  himself  with  great  ability,  and  clearly  invalidated 
almost  every  article  of  the  impeachment.  His  straight- 
ened circumstances  were  a  proof  that  he  had  applied  none 
of  the  public  money  to  his  own  use  ;  the  necessity  of  the 
times  apologised  for  his  substituting  over-valued  money 
to  satisfy  the  wants  of  the  treasury,  and  possibly  such  a 
measure  might  have  proved  of  national  advantage  had  it 
been  pursued  with  more  discretion.  Notwithstanding 
Goertz's  defence  was  clear  and  irrefragable,  the  case  went 
on  without  regard  to  formality  or  perhaps  to  equity.  The 
court  and  the  citizens  seemed  equally  determined  to  hound 
him  to  death,  .  .  .  He  was  condemned  to  lose  his  head, 
and  at  a  place  appointed  for  the  execution  of  thieves  and 
felons. ^^"      This  cruel  sentence  was  enforced  March  3,  1719. 

The  insertion  of  a  design  to  "  ruin  public  credit  with 
imaginary  money  "  in  the  indictment  against  Goertz  reads 
very  much  like  the  apology  of  the  regicides  for  their 
murder  of  the  Mongol  ruler  of  Persia  in  1294,  that  he  had 
criminally  substituted  paper  for  metallic  money.  Indeed, 
one  indictment  may  have  been  borrowed  from  the  other.* 
Voltaire,  citing  the  memoires  of  Bassevitz,  gives  an  en- 
tirely different  version  of  the  Goertz  affair.  He  does  not 
say  that  the  primate  was  executed  either  for  circulating 
copper  dollars  in  Sweden  or  advising  a  campaign  in 
Norway,  but   for  the  abortive  plots  and   intrigues  which 

1  "  Modern  Univers.  Hist.,"  xxx,  pj).  284f-8o. 

"^  Ibid.,  p.  288. 

3  Wright's  "  Marco  Polo,"  p.  217. 


he  set    afoot  for  tlie   recoveiy  of  the  Baltic    provinces.^ 
1  This  seems  very  much  more  likely. 

Besides  the  Goertz  dollars,  the  base  silver  coins,  and  the 
paper  currency  of   Charles  XII,  there  were  in  circulation 
some  of  the  old  copper  plates  and  the  transport-notes  of 
the  Eiksbank  ;   indeed,  this   continued  down  to  1763,   so 
;  that  from  first  to  last  the   copper  plates   enjoyed  a  circu- 
lation of  more  than  acentury.      In  addition  to  these  strange 
elements  of  money  in  Sweden,  there  was  a  copper  plate  sys- 
:  tern  in  Wismar.   By  the  treaty  of  Westphalia,  1648,  the  city 
of  Wismar,  in  Mecklenburg-Schwerin,  had  been  ceded  to 
i  Sweden,  which  established  there  a  court  of  appeals  for  its 
possessions  in  Germany.      In  1715,  during  the  prevalence 
of  the  copper  plate  bank  notes  and  copper  dollar  system  of 
1  Sweden,  copper  ingots  or  plates  were  issued  in  Wismar  of 
;  the  denominations  4,  8,  and  16  shillings,  and  the  sizes  2, 
1  2^,  and  3f  inches  square.    Facsimiles  of  these  pieces,  which 
:  are  now  very  rare,   are  published  in  Maillet's  '^  Monnais 
,  Obsidionales  et  de  Necessite,"  Bruxelles,  1868.      They  are 
i  all  dated  1715,  and  soon  after  this  date  they  disappeared 
,  from  circulation,  and  found  their  way  to  the  Eiksbank  of 
;  Stockholm." 

i        During  the  last  half  of  the  eighteenth  and  first  quarter 

I  of  the  nineteenth   century  the    currency  of    Sweden  was 

':  nominally  based   on  silver  dalers,  but,  owing  to   the  wars 

in  which    the    State  was    involved,  it  really  consisted   of 

i  somewhat  depreciated  bank-notes  and  greatly  depreciated 

government  notes,  both  of  which,  it    is   perhaps  needless 

to    say,  were  inconvertible.      This  depreciation,  and   the 

desire  to  resume  coin  payments,  gave  rise  to  the  coinage 

I       ^  Voltaire,  "  L'Empire  de  Eussie,"  ii,  8.     It  is  a  curious  fact  that  the 
'    Goertz  dalers  were  called  Mynt-saicen,  a  retention  of  the  ancient  deno- 
mination of  the  saicca,  saiga,  sicca,  or  shekel,  for  the  meaning  of  which 
;   so  many  metrologists   and  numismatists    have   searched    in    vain    (De 
Vienne,  "  Livre  d'Argent ;  "  Brucker,  in  Hildehrand's  "  Jahrbok,"  1864, 
i,p.  161). 

-  Consult  my  "  History  of  Money,  Ancient,"  p.  199. 


of  new  silver  dalers,  designed  to  exactly  equal  tlie  value 
of  the  depreciated  notes,  for  whidi^  it  was  expected, 
they  would  become  interchangeable.  It  will  be  remem- 
bered that  the  old  specie  riksdaler  (in  which  these  notes 
were  payable)  contained  about  390  English  grains  fine 
silver.  The  new  coins  were  the  riksdaler-banco,  contain- 
ing about  146|:  grains  fine,  or  three-eighths  of  the  specie 
daler,  and  the  riksgald  (royal  debts)  daler,  containing 
about  97^  grains  fine,  or  one-fourth  of  the  specie  daler. 
The  former  represented  the  value  of  the  bank-note, 
the  latter  that  of  the  government  note.  Each  of  these 
dalers  were  subdivided  into  48  skillings,  each  of  12 

As,  by  the  Eoyal  Ordinance  of  October  26th,  1829,  the 
government  notes  were  made  legal-tender  for  riksgald 
dalers,  and  no  adequate  provision  was  made  for  their 
retirement,  the  new  coins,  when  not  exported,  were 
added  to  the  circulation,  and  they  still  further  lowered 
the  value  of  all  the  dalers,  including  themselves.  Upon 
observing  this,  the  government  hastened  its  arrange- 
ments for  the  retirement  of  its  notes,  and  the  operation 
was  eventually  concluded  satisfactorily,  not,  however, 
until  the  confusion  caused  by  the  presence  of  three  dif- 
ferent classes  of  metallic  dalers,  skillings,  and  rundstyks 
had  led  to  great  annoyance.' 

By  the  legislation  of  1854,  the  old  specie  riksdaler 
and  the  new  riksdaler-banco  were  abolished,  leaving  the 
riksgald  daler  the  sole  ^'  unit  of  circulation  ''  (a  much 
better  term   than  the  misleading  ^'  unit  of  value  "  of  the 

^  Consult  table  of  the  Talent  or  Riksdaler  in  the  test. 

-  Lieut. -Colonel  F.  S.  Terry,  in  two  pamphlets,  "The  Great  Currency 
Problem"  and  "Independent  Standards,"  London,  1893,  proposed  to 
"  restore  silver "  by  introducing  into  other  states  a  like  system  of  two 
metallic  moneys,  the  one  silver,  the  other  gold,  both  open  to  "  free  coin- 
age," and  both  without  limit,  in  either  of  which  moneys  people  would  be 
free  to  make  their  bargains.  The  Dutch  authors  of  the  Act  of  Charles 
n.  gave  us  one  illimitable  and  ever-varying  measure  of  value  ;  Colonel 
Terry's  plan  would  give  us  two. 


American  statutes) .  The  riksgald  daler  was  now  termed 
the  riksmynt  daler,  its  subdivisions  of  skillings  and 
rundstycks  were  abrogated,  and  it  was  subdivided  anew 
into  100  ore.^  This  legislation  went  into  effect  January 
1st,  1858. 

The  religious  fanaticism  of  Chi-istian  II,  which  had 
arrayed  against  him  both  the  nobles  and  the  commons 
of  Sweden,  also  occasioned  the  secession  of  Norway  from 
the  Scandinavian  union.  The  election  of  Frederick  I,  by 
the  Danes,  though  it  failed  to  conciliate  the  multitude 
who  supported  the  standard  of  Gustavus  Vasa,  appears 
to  have  satisfied  both  the  peoples  of  Norway  and  Den- 
mark, whereupon,  in  1523,  these  two  States  were  joined 
under  one  government,  and  they  so  remained  until 
1813—14,  when  Norway  again  united  with  Sweden. 

The  monetary  history  of  Denmark  and  Norway  during 
most  of  this  interval  has  been  already  sufficiently  illus- 
trated. Previous  to  1813  the  Danish  monetary  valuations 
were  1  specie  i-iksdaler  equalled  l^  sletdalers,  4  orts,  6 
jmarks,  96  skillings,  192  fyrkes,  288  witten,  or  1152 
ipfennings  Danish  ;  or  one  half  of  the  like  denominations 
:in  Hamburg,  or  Lubeck,  or  Schleswig-Holstein  money. 
:Thus  the  Danish  specie  riksdaler  equalled  3  marks,  or  48 
skillings  ''  Lubs,'^  etc.  In  other  words,  the  mark  or 
skilling  of  Lubeck,  etc.,  was  worth  twice  as  much  as  the 
mark  or  skilling  Danish. 

There  were  at  this  period  no  less  than  five  different 
ikinds  of  money  used  in  Denmark.  These  were  as 
follows  : — 

1.  "  Specie."  The  basis  of  this  money  was  the 
"  specie  "  or  "  effective  "  riksdaler  of  390  down  to  375 
lEnglish  grains  fine,  valued  in  law  at  6  marks,  or  96 
skillings,  etc.,  as  above  stated. 

2.  "  Currency.-"  This  money  consisted  of  suspended 
|bank  or  government  notes,  and,  according  to  Dr.  Kelly, 
was  2211  per   cent,  worse   than  "  specie."      This  is  pre- 

'  Appleton's  "  Encyc,"  xv,  p.  217. 


sumed  to  mean  in  the  year  1821,  when  the  author  wrote> 
but  of  course  the  relation  -was  variable.  The  books  of 
merchants^  tradesmen,  and  others  (except  those  of  the 
bank  of  Aitona,  which  adhered  to  "  specie  ")  were  kept, 
in  "cm-rency."  "Specie"  and  "currency"  were  the 
two  principal  moneys.      Besides  these,  there  were  : 

3.  "  Suudish  specie,"  in  which  Sound  dues  were  levied 
on  foreigners.  This  was  2%  per  cent,  worse  than 
"  specie." 

4.  "  Crown  money/'  in  which  Sound  dues  were  levied 
on  native  vessels.  This  was  lo|-f-  per  cent,  worse  than 
"  specie." 

To  enhance  this  confusion  of  moneys,  the  silver 
"  specie  "  coins  were  struck  by  the  Danish  mint  mark  or 
about  3607|  grains,  while  the  gold  coins  and  the  "  cur- 
rency "  and  "  Crown  "  silver  coins  were  struck  by  the 
Cologne  mark  of  3608  grains.  The  difference  was  small, 
yet  it  was  sufficient  to  occasion  annoyance  in  the  com- 
putation and  value  of  large  sums.  This  dissonance  of 
mint-weights  arose  out  of  the  fact  that  the  king  of 
Denmark  was  also  the  duke  of  Holstein,  and,  as  such, 
his  coins  had  to  agree  in  some  sort  with  those  of  the 
empire.  The  "  specie "  ducat  of  Denmark  contained 
52-6,  and  the  "  current "  ducat  42-2,  grains  fine  gold. 
The  "  Christian  "  contained  93-6,  and  the  "  Frederick  " 
of  1813-39  contained  91^,  grains  fine  gold.  The  gold 
coins  were  not  legal-tender,  and  they  fluctuated  in  value, 
from  day  to  day,  in  silver  coins.  Bargains  (special  con- 
tracts) could  be  made  in  gold  coins,  but,  as  silver  coins 
formed  the  basis  of  the  monetary  system,  such  bargains 
were  rarely  made,  and  the  gold  coinage  constituted  an 
expense  to  the  government,  for  which  the  charge  of  f  of 
1  per  cent,  seigniorage  was  deemed  an  inadequate  com- 
pensation. The  gold  coins  were  commonly  exported  to 
Germany,    where    they   were  hoarded   by   the   peasants. 

1  All  thefie  details  will  be  found  in  the  communication  of  G.  Strachey, 


;  A  further  source  of  confusion  in   the  monetary  system  of 
;  Denmark   arose   from    the   circumstance    that,    whilst    in 

Bergen  the  system  of  money  was  based  on  the  Danish 
;  riksdaler  of  6  marks,  or  96  skillings,  in  Christiania, 
;  Drontheira,    Larwigen,   Kopperwic,   and   other    places   in 

Norway,  a  riksdaler  was  employed  of  4  orts,  or  24  skil- 
i  lings  Danish.^  A  final  coufusiou  was  occasioned  by  the 
I  fluctuations  of  the  Danish  paper  currency,  which,  being 
;  continually  increased  in  amount,  varied  in  Danish 
I  "specie"  or  silver  riksdalers,  a  subject  which  will  be 
i  explained  after  disposing  of  the  specie  system  introduced 

in  1813. 
,       In  this  new  system  one  of  the  old  riksdalers  was  coined 
I  into  two  ;  in  other  words,    18|  new  Riksbank   dalers — as 

■  they  were  called — were   struck  from   a  Cologne  mark  of 
:  silver,    so    that    each    one   contained   195  English  grains 

fine.  This  daler  was  divided  into  6  marks  or  96  skil- 
.  lings,  like  the  old  riksdaler  "  specie,"  therefore  both  the 
[  dalers,  marks,  and  skillings,  since  there  was  no  limit  to 
!  their  coinage,  were  worth  only  half  as  much  as  the  former 
,  ones. 

i       ''  The  bank  of  Copenhagen  has  undergone  many  essen- 
I  tial  changes  since  its   first  establishment,  and,  in  order  to 

understand  its  present  state,  it  may  be  necessary  to  take 
i  a  general  view  of  those  alterations.  It  was  originally 
I  founded,  in  1 736,  as  a  bank  both  of  deposit  and  of  cir- 
'  culation.  In  1745  it  was  released  from  the  obligation  of 
'  discharging  its  notes  in  coin,  and  it  continued  still  to 
1  make  advances  to  the  State  and  to  individuals  in  paper, 
[  by  which  shares  became  greatly  enhanced  in  their  value. 
"  This  bank  had  issued  paper  to  the  amount  of  eleven 
I  millions     of    riksdalers,    when   the    king    returned    their 

deposits  to  the  shareholders  and  became  himself   the  sole 

Esq.,  to  the  Bntish  Foreign  Office,  printed  in  the  "  Eepoi-t  of  the  Royal 
Commission  on  Coinage,"  1868,  p.  234. 

1  Schmidt's   (Tate's)  "  Cambist,"  p.  86,  also  mentions  a  Norwegian 

■  daler  of  120  skillings  ;  but  I  have  not  been  able  to  identify  it. 


proprietor.    The  paper  issued  was  twenty  times  the  amount  I 
of  the  capital,  in  consequence  of  which  specie  disappeared, 
and  notes  were  fixed  as  low  as  1  riks  dollar. 

"To  remedy  this  inconvenience,  in  1791,  all  further 
emission  of  notes  was  forbidden,  and  a  progressive  liquida- 
tion of  the  paper  was  ordered.  A  new  bank,  called  the 
Specie  Bank,  was  created,  which  was  to  be  independent  of 
the  government.  The  money  deposited  might  be  drawn 
out  at  pleasure,  or  transferred  by  assignment,  and  its 
issue  of  paper  was  limited  to  a  certain  extent.  In  1804 
the  new  notes  lost  25  per  cent,  in  exchange  with  the 
currency  in  which  they  were  payable,  and  the  deprecia- 
tion continued  to  increase  until  1812,  when  it  became 

"  In  181  o  a  new  bank  was  established  under  the  direction « 
of  the  king,  and,  therefore,  entitled  the  Royal  Bank  of 
Denmark.  Its  chief  object  was  to  reduce  the  paper  then 
in  circulation,  which  was  depreciated  to  one-sixth  of  its 
nominal  value ;  and  in  a  new  issue  the  dollar  was  equiva- 
lent to  five-eighths  of  the  old  paper  dollar,  which  reduced 
the  composition  to  ^^y^.  In  1817  this  bank  was  converted 
into  a  National  Bank,  by  making  a  certain  proportion  of 
the  property  of  the  kingdom  a  guarantee  for  the  liquida- 
tion of  its  paper. 

"  For  this  purpose  all  property  was  to  pay  6  per  cent, 
to   the   bank,  and  until  the   capital  is  paid  the  interest 
charged  for  each  deficiency  is   6|   per  cent,    per  annum. 
Valuation    of   property  in   this   case   is   regulated    by  the 
public  taxes,  and   all   the  payments   are   to  be   made  in 
silver  or  in  paper  of  the  full  value  of  silver,  according  to 
a  certain  rate  of  exchange,  which  is  fixed  quarterly  ;   but 
as  this   institution   engages  to  pay  off    seven   millions  of  j 
riksbank  dollars  annually,  persons  paying  in  their  quota  i 
at  the  bank  are  allowed  a  drawback  of  five- sixths  of  the  . 

"  This  bank  issues  its  own  notes,  which  are  gradually 
paid    off ;   and   it   is   intended,   when    the    new    paper    is  , 


entirely  reduced,  to  issue  notes  payable  to  bearer  on 
demand.  All  revenues  and  great  transactions  are  paid 
in  this  paper,  according  to  the  rate  of  exchange.  This 
rate  is  called  riksbank  silver  value,  which  may  be  some- 
times moi-e  and  sometimes  less  than  the  riksbank  dollar. 
All  private  contracts  and  current  transactions  are  under- 
stood to  be  settled  in  such  paper,  unless  real  silver  is 
stipulated  for ;  likewise  all  payments  of  public  actuaries 
and  to  the  army ;  but  custom-house  duties  are  settled  in 
real  silver. 

"In  January,  1821,  the  debts  of  the  bank  were  com- 
puted as  follows  : — 1.  Seven  millions  of  riksbank  dollars 
of  public  stock,  which  it  has  undertaken  to  pay.  2.  Seven 
millions  of  bonds  for  the  redemption  of  the  former  paper 
money  of  Holstein,  etc.  3.  A  debt  of  seven  millions, 
lately  contracted,  for  the  diminution  of  the  bank-notes  in 
circulation.  4.  The  bank-notes  in  circulation,  which  are 
computed  at  twenty-two  millions. 

"  The  capital  ■  is  estimated  at  thirty-three  millions  of 
riksbank  dollars,  and  the  bank  is  besides  computed  to 
possess  about  three  millions  in  silver  and  in  buildings. 
The  surplus  of  its  annual  revenue,  the  principal  part  of  which 
arises  from  the  interest  of  its  security  on  real  estates,  is 
employed  in  the  reduction  of  the  bank-notes  in  circulation. 
The  contributors  of  6  per  cent,  from  estates,  as  well  as 
voluntary  contributors,  are  shareholders,  and  are  equally 
entitled  to  interest,  etc."^ 

This  system  was  modified  in  1839,  by  further  pro- 
visions for  the  retirement  of  the  paper  money,  similar  to 
.  those  of  Sweden,  already  described,  except  that  in  the 
,  case  of  Denmark,  the  riksbank  silver  daler  of  195  grains 
fine  remained  the  ''  unit  of  circulation."  It  was,  therefore, 
worth  a  trifle  more  than  two  Swedish  riksgald,  or  riksmynt, 

On   September  20,    1872,   a  convention   of    the    three 
Scandinavian  States  Avas  concluded  at  Copenhagen,  which 
1  KeUy's  "  Cambist,"  ed.  1821,  i,  p.  79. 



was  ratified  afc  Stockholm  on  December  18,  1872.^  It  I 
provided  for  a  common  system  of  coinage,  based  on  the  : 
gold  kroner  (crown)  of  6*22  English  grains  fine,  divided 
into  100  ore.  This  coin,  or  i-ather  its  multiples  (four 
kroner  being  the  smallest  piece),  was  made  full  legal  tender 
in  all  the  States,  and  was  opened  to  ''  individual  coinage  ;" 
in  other  words,  the  State  is  obliged  to  coin  anybody's 
gold  bullion  substantially  free  of  expense,  the  seigniorage 
only  amounting  to  from  ^  to  ^  of  1  per  cent,  ad  valorem. 
•The  silver  coins  were  limited  in  legal-tender  function  to 
five  specie  riksdalei'S,  equal  (nominally)  to  twenty  kroner, 
and  their  coinage  was  reserved  to  the  State.  In  a  word, 
the  Scandinavian  States  practically  demonetised  silver, 
and  adopted  gold  coins  and  "  open  mintage  '^  as  the  basis 
of  their  monetary  systems.  Each  State  retained  its  own 
paper  money  system.  The  notes,  so  long  as  they  continue 
to  be  redeemed  in  gold  coins,  are  full  legal  tender  within 
the  State  of  issue — an  attribute  of  which  they  are  to 
become  divested  whenever  redemption  fails.  "  In  the 
transcription  of  obligations  contracted  in  the  earlier  money, 
the  basis  of  conversion  adopted  was  the  proportion  of 
silver  to  gold  of  15*08  for  1."  This  simply  means  that 
obligations  contracted  in  specie  riksdalers  of  practically 
375^  grains  silver  are  now  payable  with  four  kroner,  con- 
taining 24*9  grains  of  gold.  "  The  ratio  of  transcription" 
in  Denmark  was  15*675  for  1.  Both  the  gold  and  silver 
coins  of  each  State  are  accorded  legal  course  in  the  others, 
subject,  as  to  silver  coins,  to  certain  internal  arrange- 

These  provisions  were  adopted  in  the  Danish,  Swedish, 
and  Norwegian  laws  of  May  23,  1873,  May  30,  1878, 
and  June  4,  1873,  and  by  the  treaties  of  May  27,  1873, 
and  October  16,  1875,  which  went  into  effect  April  1,  1876, 
and  were  rendered  obligatory  from  Januai-y  1,  1877. 

'   The  text  of  this  convention  will  be  found  in  the  "  Report  of  the 
U.S.  Monetary  Commission"  of  1876,  part  I,  p.  71. 



Ancient  Saxony — Origin  of  the  Dutch — Their  maritime  character' — 
Early  moneys— The  pagan  lesterling,  Engel,  and  Guilder — Trade  with 
'Saracenic  Spain — Moslem  and  Esterling  ratios — Pepin,  the  Short — The 
Christian  ratio — Compromise  ratio  of  the  Baltic — The  Saiga — Fall  of 
;the  Eastern  Empire — Coinages  of  the  Renaissance — The  Ducat,  or  Florin 
j — Proposed  Anglo-Flemish  Convention — Florins  and  Nobles  of  Edward 
III — Disagreement  respecting  the  ratio — Burgundian  ratios — The 
Ducaton,  or  Thaler — the  Stiver — Causes  of  the  Dutch  revolution — 
Religion  and  Money — The  right  of  coinage — Corruptions  of  money 
during  the  Renaissance — Sudden  enhancement  of  gold  by  Charles  V — 
■Revolt  of  the  Netherlands — Demonetisation  of  gold — Paper  money  of 
jLeyden — the  Wissel  Bank — The  Bank  of  Amsterdam — Sols  banco — 
Burgher  coinage — It  destroys  money  and  substitutes  metal — Selfish 
.policy  of  Spain — The  Buccaneers — Plunder  of  the  Spanish  galleons — 
Opening  of  the  sea  route  to  the  Orient — The  Dutch  colony  of  New 
Amsterdam  (New  York) — The  English  follow  the  Dutch  in  all  these 
;measures — Sir  Thomas  Gresham — Dutch  coinage  ratios  from  the  earliest 
.times  to  the  present — The  Mark — Hanseatic  money — Successive  monetary 
systems  of  the  Burghers  from  the  sixteenth  to  the  nineteenth  century 
— Gold  and  silver  alternately  demonetised — Bank  issues  and  insolvency 
— Recent  demonetisation  of  silver — Present  currency  of  the  Netherlands 
' — Importance  of  the  ratio  as  a  guide  to  history — Urgent  necessity  for 
[reform  of  the  Dutch  monetary  system — The  Future. 

^  I  ^HE  early  history  of  money  in  the  Netherlands  is 
-*-  included  in  that  of  ancient  Saxony^  of  which  an 
.outline  appear.s  in  my  "  Ancient  Britain."  The  present 
;treatise  begins  substantially  with  the  Carlovingian  or 
[Mediaeval  empire,  under  which  the  various  lordships,  which 
afterwards  constituted  the  provinces  of  the  Netherlands, 
were  held  in  vassalage.  These  were  Holland,  Zeeland, 
Utrecht,  Guelderland,  Groningen,  Over-iesel,  or  Overyssel, 


and  Friesland ;  afterwards  called  the  Seven   United  Pro- ! 
vinces.    These,  with  three  other  provinces,  carved  out  of  the  i 
Generality  governed  by  the  States-General,  make  the  pre-! 
sent  kingdom  of  Holland.    The  eight  remaining  provinces 
of  the  Netherlands  now  make  the  kingdom  of  Belgium. 

It  will  conduce  to  a  better  understanding  of  the  Dutch  i 
monetary  systems  to  explain,  at  the  outset,  that  the  ancient  ■ 
Batavians  were  not  descended  from  the  people  of  the 
highlands,  or  Germany,  and  shared  neither  their  customs 
nor  religion.  The  Batavians  were  a  portion  of  that 
martial  and  amphibious  race  who  carried  the  worship  of 
the  Sun  and  the  art  of  navigation  from  the  Gulf  of  Fin- 
land to  the  British  Channel ;  and  were  so  mingled  with 
the  Iesthonians,Veneti,and  Norsemen,  that  no  ethnological 
nor  philological  theory  has  ever  satisfactorily  traced  their 
genealogy,  or  accounted  for  their  early  history.  Their 
rivers,  provinces,  and  towns,  as  lessel,  Ober-Iessel,  and 
les-la-Chapelle,  afterwards  Aix-la-Chapelle,  were  named 
after  the  sun-god ;  they  were  fishermen,  traders,  and 
pirates ;  and  so  were  their  neighbours  and  kinsmen,  the 
Yeneti  and  Norsemen  ;  and  that  is  about  all  we  know  of 
them,  until  Charlemagne,  including  them  among  the  ! 
pagans  of  Saxony,  drove  his  pious  sword  through  some  of 
their  obdurate  hearts  and  obliterated  their  genealogy,  by 
introducing  German  blood  into  the  remainder.  The 
conquest  of  the  Veneti  and  Batavians  by  Caesar,  the 
allusion  to  them  in  the  "  Germany  '^  of  Tacitus,  the  revolt 
of  the  Frisians  against  the  exacting  rule  of  Tiberius,  the 
rise  of  Carausius  the  Menapian,  the  subjection  of  the  Low 
Countries  to  the  Western  and  Carlovingian  empires,  and 
the  history  of  the  Pagan  Hansa,  all  of  which  subjects  are 
treated  either  in  the  work  above  alluded  to,  or  else  in  my  ! 
"  Middle  Ages  Eevisited,"  may  interest  the  student  of  a  \ 
larger  history  ;  but  cannot,  in  the  present  state  of  his- 
torical knowledge,  lead  to  any  more  satisfactory  infor- 
mation concerning  the  origin  of  the  Dutch  people. 

The  oldest  Dutch  coins  are  attributed  to  Arnold  II,  count  I 


;of  Flanders,  964-89.    The  oldest  Dutch  coins  in  the  British 

IMuseum  are   some  small  thin  silver  pieces  of  Bruno  III, 

count   of    Frisia,  A.D.  1038-57,  a  vassal   of    the   emperors 

Henry  III.   and   Henry  IV.      These  pieces,  which  are  in 

I  fairly  good    condition,  weigh    from    10-2    to   10-4  "English 

1  grains  each.      I   shall   revert  to  them   further  on  ;  mean- 

;  while   it  is  necessary  to   observe  that,  although  they  are 

lamong  the  oldest  Dutch  coins,  they  are  not   among   the 

boldest  Dutch  moneys.      These  were   ieschen    (corrupted  to 

eschen,  and   falsely  traced  to  the  Eoman  ace  or  as,  which 

last  was  unknown  in  the  Netherlands),  iesterlings  or  engels, 

and  gulden.      The   first    and    second  of  these  names,  like 

those     attached     to    the   sacred    coins    of    China,    India, 

jGreece,    and    Eome,    are    evidently    derived    from     that 

■of   the   sun-god.        Engel    is    probably  derived   from    an 

effigy  on  the  iesterliug.      The  last  belongs  also  to  a  pagan 

era,  for  although  now  it  is  that  of  a  silver  coin,  the  name 

evidently  belongs   to  a   time  when  it  was  a  gold  one,  and 

therefore  to  a  pagan  period  ;   because  under  the  Christian 

empire  no  gold  coins  were  permitted  to  be  struck   except 

by  the  sovereign-pontiff  in  Byzantium.       The  gulden  was 

■probably  the  maravedi  of  about  40  grains  weight. 

From  near  the  beginning  of  the  eighth  to  the  close  of 
the  tenth  centuries — when,  as  attested  by  the  numerous 
inds  of  moslem  coins  in  Esthonia,  Julin,  Gotland,  Frisia, 
tc,  an  active  trade  was  conducted  in  the  Baltic  and 
N'orth  Seas  and  coastwise  down  to  Saracenic  Spain,  by 
;he  Norsemen,  Dutchmen  and  moslem — moslem  coins  and 
valuations  must  have  been  familiar  to  the  maritime  pro- 
/inces  of  northern  and  western  Europe.  The  influence  of 
:he  moslem  ratio  of  value  between  gold  and  silver  is 
especially  noticeable.  The  ratio  in  the  Roman  and  Christian 
systems  was,  until  the  thirteenth  century,  always  12  for  1  ; 
-.hat  in  the  Indian  and  moslem  systems,  6^-  for  1.  This 
•adical  difference  in  the  relative  coinage  value  of  the 
precious  metals,  maintained  on  both  sides  for  centuries 
ivith  little  attempt  at  compromise  or  reconcilement,  enables 



of  new  silver  dalers,  designed  to  exactly  equal  tlie  value 
of  the  depi-eciated  notes,  for  whicli,  it  was  expected, 
tHey  would  become  interchangeable.  It  will  be  remem- 
bered that  the  old  specie  riksdaler  (in  which  these  notes 
were  payable)  contained  about  390  English  grains  fine 
silver.  The  new  coins  were  the  riksdaler-banco,  contain- 
ing about  146j  grains  fine,  or  three-eighths  of  the  specie 
daler,  and  the  riksgald  (royal  debts)  daler,  containing 
about  97^  grains  fine,  or  one-fourth  of  the  specie  daler. 
The  former  represented  the  value  of  the  bank-note, 
the  latter  that  of  the  government  note.  Each  of  these 
dalers  were  subdivided  into  48  skillings,  each  of  12 

As,  by  the  Eoyal  Ordinance  of  October  26th,  1829,  the 
government  notes  were  made  legal-tender  for  riksgald 
dalers,  and  no  adequate  provision  was  made  for  their 
retirement,  the  new  coins,  when  not  exported,  were 
added  to  the  circulation,  and  they  still  further  lowered 
the  value  of  all  the  dalers,  including  themselves.  Upon 
observing  this,  the  government  hastened  its  arrange- 
ments for  the  retirement  of  its  notes,  and  the  operation 
was  eventually  concluded  satisfactorily,  not,  however, 
until  the  confusion  caused  by  the  presence  of  three  dif- 
ferent classes  of  metallic  dalers,  skillings,  and  rundstyks 
had  led  to  great  annoyance." 

By  the  legislation  of  1854,  the  old  specie  riksdaler 
and  the  new  riksdaler-banco  were  abolished,  leaving  the 
riksgald  daler  the  sole  "'  unit  of  circulation  ^'  (a  much 
better  term   than  the  misleading  "  unit  of  value  ^'  of  the 

^  Consult  table  of  the  Talent  or  Riksdaler  in  the  text. 

2  Lieut. -Colonel  F.  S.  Terry,  in  two  pamphlets,  "  The  Great  Currency 
Problem"  and  "Independent  Standards,"  London,  1893,  proposed  to 
"  restore  silver "  by  introducing  into  other  states  a  like  system  of  two 
metallic  moneys,  the  one  silver,  the  other  gold,  both  open  to  "  free  coin- 
age," and  both  without  limit,  in  either  of  which  moneys  people  would  be 
free  to  make  their  bargains.  The  Dutch  authors  of  the  Act  of  Charles 
II.  gave  us  one  illimitable  and  ever-varying  measure  of  value  ;  Colonel 
Terry's  plan  would  give  us  two. 


American  statutes) .  The  riksgald  daler  was  now  termed 
the  riksmynt  daler,  its  subdivisions  of  skillings  and 
rundstycks  were  abrogated,  and  it  was  subdivided  anew 
into  100  ore.^  This  legislation  went  into  effect  January 
1st,  1858. 

The  religious  fanaticism  of  Christian  II,  which  had 
arrayed  against  him  both  the  nobles  and  the  commons 
of  Sweden,  also  occasioned  the  secession  of  Norway  from 
the  Scandinavian  union.  The  election  of  Frederick  I,  by 
the  Danes,  though  it  failed  to  conciliate  the  multitude 
who  supported  the  standard  of  Gustavus  Vasa,  appears 
to  have  satisfied  both  the  peoples  of  Norway  and  Den- 
mark, whereupon,  in  1523,  these  two  States  were  joined 
under  one  government,  and  they  so  remained  until 
1813—14,  "when  Norway  again  united  with  Sweden. 

The  monetary  history  of  Denmark  and  Norway  during 
most  of  this  interval  has  been  already  sufficiently  illus- 
trated. Previous  to  1813  the  Danish  monetary  valuations 
were  1  specie  riksdaler  equalled  Ih  sletdalers,  4  orts,  6 
marks,  96  skillings,  192  fyrkes,  288  witten,  or  1152 
pfennings  Danish  ;  or  one  half  of  the  like  denominations 
in  Hamburg,  or  Lubeck,  or  Schleswig-Holstein  money. 
Thus  the  Danish  specie  riksdaler  equalled  3  marks,  or  48 
skillings  "  Lubs,"  etc.  In  other  words,  the  mark  or 
skilling  of  Lubeck,  etc.,  was  worth  twice  as  much  as  the 
mark  or  skilling  Danish. 

There  were  at  this  period  no  less  than  five  different 
kinds  of  money  used  in  Denmark.  These  were  as 
follows  : — 

1.  "Specie."  The  basis  of  this  money  was  the 
"  specie  "  or  "  effective  "  riksdaler  of  390  down  to  375 
English  grains  fine,  valued  in  law  at  6  marks,  or  96 
skillings,  etc.,  as  above  stated. 

2,  "  Currency.'"  This  money  consisted  of  suspended 
bank  or  government  notes,  and,  according  to  Dr.  Kelly, 
was  22|4-  per   cent,  worse    than  "  specie."      This  is   pre- 

'  Appleton's  "  Encyc,"  xv,  p.  217. 


centuries,  when  nioslem  coins  and  valuations  were  current 
in  the  Baltic,  the  gold  shilling  ceased  to  be  coined,  and 
was  superseded  by  parts  of  the  gold  dinar  of  63|-  grains! 
fine.  The  silver  dirhem  of  41^  grains  fine,  of  which  ten 
went  to  the  dinar  (a  ratio  of  6^  for  1),  was  also  in  circu- 
lation among  the  Dutch  ;  a  fact  attested  by  the  immense 
numbers  of  them  found  in  recent  years  on  the  coasts  of 
the  Baltic  and  North  Seas.  From  these  circumstances 
regard  the  silver  pieces  of  Friesland,  mentioned  above, 
as  typically  quarter-dirhems.  It  is  of  no  practical  con- 
sequence whether  they  are  regarded  tis  quarter-dirhems  or 
half-deniers  ;  only,  if  as  half-deniers,  they  should  bear  a 
ratio  of  12  to  the  gold  shilling  of  the  empire,which  they  dd 
not ;  whereas,  if  as  quarter-dirhems,  they  should  bear  a  ratio* 
of  6ito  the  quarter-dinars  of  Saracenic  Spain,  which  they  do. 

There  is  no  evidence  that  the  ratio  of  12  was  employed 
in  Holland,  except  at  sporadic  intervals,  that  is  to  sajj 
under  Pepin,  and  possibly  for  a  brief  period  under  Charl© 
magne ;  for  the  latter  struck  few  or  no  gold  coins 
probably  none.  It  may  have  been  again  employed  in  the 
earlier  Hapsburgh  coinages  of  the  fifteenth  century.  At  al 
other  periods,  as  is  shown  in  a  table  further  on,  the  ratio  ii 
Dutch  coinage  and  mint  valuations,  from  the  Carlovingiarj 
period  down  to  the  year  1524,  varied  from  8  to  10  for  1. 

From  the  date  of  their  earliest  coinages,  down  to  the 
fifteenth  century,  the  coins  of  the  Netherlands  which  have 
fallen  under  my  observation  present  no  features  of  especial 
interest.  The  collection  in  the  British  Museum  is  not 
only  wanting  as  to  several  provinces  and  numerous  reigns 
of  the  Dutch  princes,  but  many  of  the  coins  are  in  bac 
condition — clipped,  bent,  perforated  with  holes,  or  other- 
wise mutilated.  Among  the  best  specimens  are  a  small 
silver  coin  of  the  count  of  Nassau,  1229—71,  and  anothei 
of  Reynaud  II,  1326—43 — both  of  the  quarter-dirhed 
type.  Another  of  Philip  le  Beau,  dux  Geldria,  weighs 
41  i  grains  gross,  and  is  evidently  intended  for  a  dirhem! 
The  earliest  gold  coin  in  this  collection  is  one  of  Charlesl 


Egmout,  duke  of  Gueldria^  1492—1538.     It  is  stamped  with 

the    figure   of   a    saiut,    who    is    styled    the    "patron     of 

Gueldria/^  weighs  50" 6   grains  gross,  and  is  apparently  of 

about  22  carats  fine.     An  earlier  one,  struck  by  Charles  of 

Flanders,  1467—77,  also  stamped  with  the  efiigy  of  a  saint, 

.and  weighing  51  grains  gross,  is  in  the  possession  of  Mr. 

Lincoln,  the  London  numismatist.     These  coins  are  ducats. 

There   are  no  ducats  of   the    fourteenth    century   in    the 

Museum   collection,   yet   that  is    the    period   when     they 

.possess  the  highest  interest  ;  for  they  were  then  connected 

with  the  history  of  England.      In  1343,  after  Edward  III. 

had  been  authorised   by  the    emperor   to  coin  gold,  and 

whilst  he  was  making  preparations  to  exercise   this    pre- 

■rogative,   it  was   intimated  that  the   Flemings   sold   their 

wares  only  for   Flemish  gold  florins  (ducats),  which  were 

valued    so  highly   in   English    silver    coins    as   to   render 

.payment  in  the  latter  unprofitable  to  English  merchants. 

In  other  words,  by  paying  gold   ducats  with   silver  coins, 

the  islanders  are  represented  to  have  suffered  a  disadvan- 

itage  j   whereupon  the  crown  resolved  that  they  should  be 

enabled    to   pay    with    gold    ones.      Hence    the   issue   of 

English   double   ducats  of   the  year  1344.      But  as  these 

;  were  valued  at  six  shillings,  or  12   times  their  w^eight   of 

,  silver,  whilst  the  Flemish  ratio  was  probably  10  for  1,  the 

i  Flemings  declined  to  accept  them ;  whereupon  they  were 

'  decried   and  withdrawn  from   circulation  within  the  year. 

;  Still  bent   upon  issuing  a   gold  coin  that  should  not   only 

retain  its  place  in  the  home  circulation,  but  also   obtain 

I  some  currency  abroad,   Edward    next    (within   the   same 

•year)  issued  the  noble  at  six  shillings  and  eight  pence,  a 

!  ratio    of    11  "06  for  1  ;    the  seigniorage   being  9  per  cent. 

But  this  coin  the   Flemings  also  objected   to  unless  they 

were  to  be  struck  (under  Edward's  letter  of  authority)  in 

;  Flanders,  and    also   unless  an  amicable  division  could  be 

■  made  of  the  profits  arising  from  their  coinage.      For  this 

purpose  commissioners  were   sent  to   Ghent,  Bruges,  and 

:  Ipre;  but  nothing  came  of  the  negotiations.      The  ratio 


which  ruled  in  the  Netherlands  must  have  compelled 
the  Flemings  to  demand  either  a  re-valuation  of  the 
noble,  or  an  entire  abandonment  of  the  seigniorage 
conditions  to  which  the  English  envoys  were  not  authorisec 
to  assent.  Fi'oissart  and  Grafton  both  assert  that  a  gol( 
coin  with  the  name  of  Edward  was  struck  in  Antwerp  ai 
this  period  ;  but  no  such  coin  has  ever  been  found. ^ 

In  1436  Holland  was  annexed  to  Gothic  Burgundy,  anc 
in  1477  to  Austria,^  which  governed  it  until  1506,  when 
it  was  inherited  by  Charles  Y,  of  Germany,  or  Charles  I, 
of  Spain,  himself  a  native  of  Ghent.  During  the  Bur- 
gundian  period,  some  of  the  Dutch  ducats  now  called! 
double  ducats  weighed  67  grains  (British  Museum  ducatS 
of  Utrecht),  and  were  23  carats  3^  grains  fine  (Budelius, 
p.  249,  "  Old  Double  Ducat  ").  Hence  they  contained  56J 
grains  fine — substantially  the  same  as  the  Venetian  sequim 
of  the  thirteenth  century.  The  halves  were  called  gulden. 
The  coinage  ratio  was  9  for  1,  an  inference  derived! 
from  the  silver  ducat  or  ducaton,  whose  weight  at  this 
period  varied  from  513  to  507^  grains  gross.  It  wasj 
valued  equally  with  the  heavier  ducat  or  double  gulden. 
None  of  these  broad  ducaton  pieces  are  in  the  collection 
of  the  British  Museum,  but  they  are  frequently  mentioned 
by  Budelius,  where  their  weights  and  finenesses  are  given 
with  great  minuteness.  They  varied  from  0*936  to  0"916|-| 
fine,  and  were  variously  called  ducatons,  riders,  talents,i 
king's-thalers,  and  Netherlands  pennies.  They  werej 
commonly  struck  down  to  the  reign  of  Philip  II,  and| 
occasionally  down  to  the  present  century;  but  their  value,, 
as  related  to  the   gold   coins,  was  seriously  impaired,  as 

^  Del  Mar's  "  Middle  Ages  Eevisited,"  chap.  xix.  The  "  dubble-ies  ' 
was  in  use  during  the  present  century  ("  Tour  in  Holland,"  by  Wm. 
Chambers,  1842). 

^  The  Austrian  mint  ordinance  relating  to  the  Netherlands  was  issued 
by  Maximillian  at  Breda,  December  14th,  1489.  It  provided  for  a  gold 
florin  39f  English  grains  fine,  valued  at  12  times  its  weight  in  fine 
silver,  a  provision  that  practically  nullified  the  ordinance  and  discredited; 
the  florins. 


will  be  presently  related,  by  the  arbitrary  legislation  of 
•Charles  V.  There  was  also  a  silver  dollar  of  about  two- 
thirds  the  same  contents,  which  was  valued  at  a  gulden — 
a  ratio  of  9  for  1.  This  piece  was  the  prototype  of  the 
existing  German  thaler,  the  old  Turkish  grouch,  and 
many  other  coins. 

If  it  seems  difficult  to  believe  that  gold  stood  at  so 
low  a  ratio  to  silver  in  the  fifteenth  century,  perhaps  the 
following  ratios,  taken  from  the  coinages  of  France 
during  that  century,  will  reader  our  deduction  more 
credible  :— Year  1403— ratios,  7'31,  7-84,  and  7-87; 
1411—6-64  and  6-85;  1417—9-60  and  6-40;  1418—6-67; 
1419_7-30;  14-21- 9-49;  1423  (2nd  Charles  VII)— 10-22; 
1425—10-94  ;  1428—7-45  ;  1435—12-59  ;  1437-7-97  ; 
^1447_10-93;  1456—10-79;  1473  (13th  Louis  XI)— 10-94  ; 
and  1475—10-98.^ 

It  was  during  the  thirteenth  or  fourteenth  century  that 
the  stiver  was  added  to  the  Dutch  denominations  of  money. 
The  ancient  Roman  libra  of  account  had  consisted  of  five 
solidi,  or  twenty  quarter-solidi,  or  gold  shillings.  In  like 
manner  the  Arabian  maravedi  (the  Dutch  gulden)  was 
divided  in  Holland  into  twenty  stivers.  At  a  later  period 
the  Dutch  talent,  or  silver  ducaton,was  divided  into  twenty 
stivers,  each  of  about  25  grains  of  silver ;  the  talent  and 
gulden  were  therefore  of  the  same  value.  When,  in 
still  later  times,  the  ducaton,  talent,  thaler,  or  dollar,  was 
lowered  in  weight,  the  stiver  became  a  bronze  or  copper 

The  printing-press,  the  discovery  of  America,  and  the 
teachings  of  Erasmus — the  Dutch  leader  of  the  Reforma- 

1  Del  Mar's  "  Money  and  Civilisation,"  p.  202. 

-  In  Locke's  essay  on  "  Money  "  it  is  stated  that  the  Dutch  ducaton 

hove  a  premium  in   Holland   of  l^  per  cent,  over  the  newer  and  less 

valuable   silver  coins   of  the   same   denominational  value,  and  that  the 

,  ducaton  passed  for  3  guilders  and  3  stivei^s.     Locke  was  in  Holland   in 

1682,  and  must  have  been  thoroughly  familiar  with  this  subject;  yet  I 

cannot  make  these  statements  agree. 


tion — all   of   which    influences    made    themselves    felt    at| 
about  the  same  time,  have  been  vai'iously  put  forward  by! 
historians  as  the  motive  for  the  Revolt  of  the  Netherlands.  I 
No  doubt  that  all  of  these  influences  contributed  to  bring | 
about   the   end ;    no   doubt    that   religion   was    the    most 
powerful   of    them  all,   and   that    the   proceedings    of  the 
Councils  of  Trent,  E-atisbon,  and  Worms,  and  the  sudden! 
and  sinister  alliance  between  the  pope  and  the  emperor^  i 
who  down  to  this  time  had  made  numerous  concessions  to 
the   Protestants,  which   now   the  emperor  revoked,   were 
among  the  immediate  provocations  to  the  rebellion.      Buti 
there   was   still   another   motive    behind   this    revolution. 
The  learned  Abbe  Eaynal  disclosed  this  motive,  in  alluding! 
to   the   disgust    of    the    Netherlands    with   that    edict   of| 
Ferdinand  which  had  foi'bidden  them  to  take  part  in  the 
gainful   commerce   of  the   East  and  West  Indies,   by  re- 
stricting it  to  "  subjects  of  Castile.''^     Religion  may  havei 
swayed  the   noble   and  even  the  common  people  ;  it  was  1 
commerce  that  swayed  the  burghers."      This  is  proved  by 
the   revolt  of   Ghent   in   1539,  the  ground  for  which  wasi 
that  the   emperor's  quarrels   with    Francis   debarred   the! 
citizens  of  the  town  from  the  rich  trade  with  France,  and 
loaded  them  with  taxes  which   they  protested   they  could 
not   afi^ord   to   pay.      It    is    also   proved    by    the   relative 
importance   of  the   demands  which  were  made  by  Prince 
Maurice,    upon   the   conclusion   of    his   campaign   against' 
Charles.      After   providing  for  the   liberation  of  the  im-; 
prisoned    Elector,   these    demands    were,    first,    that   the 
grievances  in  the  civil  government  should  be   redressed ; ; 
and,  last,  that  the  Protestants  should  be  allowed  the  free  i 
exercise  of  their  religion.^ 

Among  these   civil  grievances  none   could   have   been  | 

'  Raynal,  12mo  ed.,  i,  p.  138. 

-  "  The  parliament  and  the  people,  in  their  addresses  to  Queen  Eliza- 
beth, always  mentioned  the  reformation  of  the  coin,  after  that  of  religion, 
as  one  of  the  principal  events  of  the  reign  "  (Lord  Liverpool's  "Letter 
to  the  King,"  ed.  1880,  p.  111). 

^  Robertson's  "  Life  of  Charles  V,"  iii,  p.  252. 


ikiore  heavily  felt   in  Holland  than   the   monetary  decrees 

iof  Charles  V.      In  1524  this  monarch  had  raised  the  value 

of  his  gold  coins  in  the  Netherlands  from  9  or  10  to  llf 

;  times  their  weight  in    silver  coins.      This   occasionecl    so 

imucli  dissatisfaction   that  in  1542  he  returned  to  a  ratio 

of   10   for  1   by  degrading  his  silver  dollars — a  mode  of 

I  reparation   hardly   more  satisfactory   than    had   been    the 

original  offence.      But  the   worst-  was  to   come.      In  1546 

Charles  suddenly  enhanced  the  value  of  his  gold  coins  to 

lo|    times   their    weight   in    silver  ones.      In   effect,  this 

edict  reduced  the  circulating  medium  of  the  Netherlands, 

which   consisted   substantially  of   silver  coins,  to  scarcely 

more  than   two-thirds   of  its  value   previous   to    the  year 

1524.      It    was   a  blow   that   everybody  felt,  and   felt    at 

once  ;    and   it    probably  exercised   no   little   influence    to 

support  both  the  operations  of   Maurice   against  Charles 

land  the  subsequent  and  more  important  operations  which 

William  of  Orange  directed  against  Philip. 

To  justly  estimate  the  onerous  chai'acter  of  this  last 
monetary  ordinance  of  Charles,  it  should  be  explained,  for 
!  example,  that  it  reduced  the  silver  ducaton  to  two-thirds 
iof  its  former  value,  or,  which  is  the  same  thing,  it  raised 
ithe  value  of  gold  nearly  50  per  cent.,  by  substituting  a 
'  debased  ducat,  first  of  about  37  grains,  and  next  of  about 

■  35  grains  fine,  in  place  of  the  old  ones  of  about  54  graius 
fine.      Budelius  (p.  249)  mentions  a  ducat  of  Deventer  on 

■the  lessel,  of  67  eschen,  or  49*7  grains,  which  was  only 
17|  carats  fine,  and  therefore  contained  but  36^  grains 
fine,  and  a  "  kaiser's  ducat,"  evidently  of  Charles  V, 
only  14  carats  fine,  and  containing  (if  of  the  same  gross 
weight  as  the  former)  only  29  grains  fine;  whilst  the 
ducats  of  Philip,  of  the   same  gross  weight,  were  only  16 

;  carats  fine,  and  therefore  contained  but  33g^  grains  of  gold. 

'  Such  a  violent  and  sudden  alteration  of  the  value  of 
money  amongst  a  commercial  people  produced  the  greatest 

J  distress  and  commotion  ;   and  in  view  of  the  insurrections 

■  which  have   followed   close   upon   the    heels   of   arbitrary 


monetary  decrees  in  otlier  States,  it  cannot  be  doubtec^j 
that  this  measure  was  at  least  one  of  the  causes  thafei 
contributed  to  the  revolution  of  1572. 

From    this    date,  indeed,  commenced    a    new  era,  not! 
only  in  the  monetary  system  of  the  Netherlands,  but  alsQ 
in  all  the  other  states  of  the  Western  world.      To  under^, 
stand    its    significance  we  must   make  a  brief  retrospecti 
concerning  the  riglit  of  coinage.  •  ,| 

In  the  imperial  monetary  system,  wbicli  was  planneid 
by  Julius  Cfesar,  matured  by  Augustus,  and  retained 
with  more  or  less  constancy  down  to  the  fall  of  Byzantium 
in  1204,  the  only  full  legal-tender  money  having  a  forced 
circulation  in  all  parts  of  the  Empire  consisted  of  the  gold 
coins  struck  by  the  emperor  at  Rome  or  Byzantium.  The 
Emperor  (in  another  capacity)  also  struck  silver  coins  ;  so 
also  did  the  proconsuls,  the  subject  kings,  and  tha. 
municipalities,^  but  as  these  coins  had  only  a  local  course^ 
and  in  some  cases  were  entirely  destitute  of  legal-tender 
function,  and  as  the  imperial  taxes  and  tributes  were 
payable  only  in  imperial  gold  coins,  or  else  in  exactly 
twelve  times  their  weight  in  silver  ones  (purity  for  purity), 
it  mattered  but  little  to  the  Imperial  fisc  what  variations 
took  place  in  the  coinages  of  the  latter.  The  Senate^ 
which  after  the  Augustan  period  was  the  mere  creature 
of  the  Sovereign,  enjoyed  the  monopoly  of  the  bronze- 
coinage.  The  lost  Treaty  of  Seltz,  which  was  made- 
between  Charlemagne  and  Nicephorus,  not  only  necesr 
sarily  defined  the  boundaries  of  the  Eastern  and  Westerij 
empires,  it  must  have  contained  a  provision  securing  the- 
monopoly  of  the  gold  coinage  to  the  Basileus  ;  for,  as  a- 
matter  of  fact,  no  gold  coins  were  ever  struck  by  any 
other  Christian  prince  until  after  the  fall  of  Byzantium^. 
For  the  Netherlands,  this  covers  the  entire  period  from 
Charlemagne  to  Frederick  II. 

'  Adam  Smith  (i,  p.  320,  Hartford  ed.,  1804)  talks  of  the  "  allodial  T 
right  of  coinage.  This  is  sheer  nonsense,  and  bespeaks  a  fundamenta^l 
misconception  as  to  the  nature  and  function  of  money. 

I    ^  THE   NETHERLANDS.  347 

.    The  Imperial  system,  therefore^  consisted  of  something- 
like  what  is  now  being  proposed  by  currency  doctors — an 
"universal  money  for  the  whole   European  world,  but  with 
;  this  essential  difference  :   the   Basileus   alone   struck  such 
universal   money,  and    therefore    possessed  the  power  to 
regulate  its  volume  ;  whereas,  according  to  the  plan  which 
is  now  being  matured,   each    State — and    especially  if  it 
permits    unlimited    coinage,   subject    to   the   demands   of 
1  private    individuals — will    sti'ike    such   money  for    itself, 
land   there    will    be    no    united    control    of    the    volume. 
("Whether    such    money   be     made    of    one   metal   or   two 
imetals  will  be  of  no  consequence  ;  it  can  never  become 
'an  equitable  or  stable  measure  of  value. 

From  the  fall  of  the  Greek  capital  to  the  revolt  of  the 
Spanish  Netherlands,  a  totally  different  system  of  money 
! prevailed  in  the  states  of  Europe.  Every  kmg  hastened 
,to  strike  his  own  gold  coins  :  Frederick  of  Germany, 
Alfonso  of  Leon,  and  Sancho  of  Portugal,  in  1225  ;  Louis 
of  France,  in  1250  ;  the  Republic  of  Florence,  in  1252  ; 
aod  Henry  III.  of  England,  in  1257.  Silver  coins  were 
.also  struck  by  these  powers,  and  also  by  the  barolis  and 
^prelates  subject  to  their  authority  ;  and  both  gold  and 
isilver  coins  were  commonly  made  full  legal-tenders,  at  the 
iratio  of  value  fixed  by  each  State.  The  supreme  right  of 
'coinage,  which  previously  was  always  Avielded  and  but 
(rarely  abused  by  the  Basileus,  was  now  both  exercised 
and  abused  by  every  petty  prince  in  Europe. 

During  the  Empire  the  gold  coins  had  been  stamped 
with  sacred  images  and  devices,  a  plan  which,  in  a 
superstitious  age,  sufficed  to  preserve  them  from  abuse. 
>After  the  fall  of  Byzantium  this  restraint  was  relaxed  ; 
like  sacred  images  disappeared  from  the  gold  coins, 
and  both  these  and  the  silver  coins  were  altered  so 
,  often  and  so  suddenly  that  it  is  difficult  to  follow  either 
'their  composition  or  value.  Edward  II,  of  England, 
PhiKp  le  Bel,  of  France,  and  Charles  I,  of  Spain,  were 
only   types  of    the   mediasvai    adulterer    of    coins.       The 


practice  was  continued  down  to  the  beginning  of  the 
seventeenth  century  ;  and  notwithstanding  the  apologetic 
theories  or  protestations  of  patriotic  writers,  no  sovereign 
of  this  period  was  guiltless  of  it.  Some  of  the  alterations 
were  no  doubt  rendered  necessary  by  the  dwindling  stock 
and  uncertain  supplies  of  the  precious  metals,  or  were 
made  for  other  good  reasons ;  for,  as  Mr.  Hallam  has 
remarked,  no  ill  results  appear  to  have  followed  them. 
But  others,  as  attested  by  their  evil  consequences,  were 
evidently  made  for  private  profit  to  the  king,  or  else 
resorted  to  as  a  ready  means  to  fill  an  exhausted 

In  1524  and  1546  Charles  V.  suddenly  raised  by  pro- 
clamation the  legal  value  of  his  gold  coins  in  Holland  from 
9  or  10  to  13^  times  their  weight  in  silver  coins  ;  and  by 
this  imprudent  device  managed  to  temporarily  replenish  his 
barren  coffers.  This  was  the  straw  that  broke  the  patience 
of  his  long-suffering  subjects.  The  Netherlands  showed 
signs  of  revolt;  even  Spanish  America  remonstrated,  and 
eventually  (in  1608)  the  latter  secured  a  notable  concession 
of  the  regaliau  prerogative  of  money.  Meanwhile,  and 
during  the  reign  of  Charles,  the  revolutionary  tendency  in 
Holland  was  checked ;  but  with  the  accession  of  Philip 
the  Bigot  it  burst  into  fierce  flames.  The  ''  Confederation 
of  Beggars"  was  formed  in  1566;  the  revolution  was 
proclaimed  in  1572  ;  paper  money  was  issued  in  1574;  the 
Jews  of  Amsterdam  organised  a  sort  of  Wissel  bank  in 
1 607 ;  and  the  bank  of  Amsterdam,  which,  under  the 
authority  of  the  city,  imitated  and  then  destroyed  the 
AVissel  bank  and  forbade  the  Jews  from  dealing  in 
exchange,  was  established  in  1609.  "  Free,"  or  properly 
speaking,  "individual"  coinage,  as  it  is  still  called  by  the 
Dutch,  had  long  been  permitted  by  the  degenerate  moslem 
governments  of  India,  where  Albuquerque  found  and 
Mascarenhas  copied  it  (1555).  From  the  Portuguese  the 
evil  institute  w^as  inherited  by  the  Dutch  East  Indians,  and 
'  Of  this  character  were  the  coinages  of  Edward  VI,  of  England. 


iby  them  it  was  brouglit  to  Holland.  It  was  among  the 
first  measures  resorted  to  by  the  revolutionary  government, 
who,  however,  limited  their  legal-tender  coins  to  silver, 
which  was  coined  into  "guilders,"  or  florins,  of  160|  grains 
fine.  The  operation  of  this  system  was  promoted  by  the 
exchange  transactions  of  the  Jews,  and  the  guarantee 
which  their  individual  Credit  afforded  to  importations  and 
deposits  of  bullion.  It  was  further  stimulated  by  the  ex- 
tension of  Dutch  commerce  and  by  the  superior  credit  of 
the  bank  of  Amsterdam,\  with  whose  transactions  sub- 
,stantially  commenced  the  present  system  of  individual 

In  this  connection  it  will  be  interesting  to  observe  that 
■  two  years  after  the  first   edict  of   Charles   V,   to   wit,  in 
1526,  Henry  YIII.  of  England  felt  obliged  (in  consequence 
of  that  edict,  "  forasmuch  as  coins  of   .    .   .   gold   ...  be 
of  late  days  raised   ...   in  the  emperor's  low  countries," 
land  because  there  was  an  active  trade  with  Flanders)  to 
I  raise  the  value  of  the  angel-noble  of  80  grains  gross,  from 
6s.  8d.  to  7s.  4d.,  and  two  months  later  to  7s.  6d.,  in  silver 
coins.      Following  is  the  text  of  the  ordinance  : 
I      "  Henry  the   Eighth,   by  the   grace   of    God,   King  of 
England    and    France,    defender  of    the   Faith,    lord   of 
Ireland,  to   the  most  reverend  Father  in  God,   our  most 
trusty    and    most    entirely    beloved    councillor    the    lord 
Thomas,  cardinal  of  York,   archbishop,  legat  de  Leicestre 
of  the  See  Apostolic,  primate  of  England,  and  our  chan- 
'  cellor    of  the   same,    greeting.      Forasmuch    as    coins    of 
;  money,  as  well  of  gold  as  of  silver,  be  of  late  days  raised 
!  and  enhanced  both  in  the  realm  of  France,  as  also  in  the 
emperor's  Low  Countries,  and  in  other  parts,  unto  higher 
:  prices  than  the  very  poise  weight  and  fineness  and  valua- 
tion of  the  same,  and  otherwise,  than  they  were  accustomed 
to  be  current  ;  by  means  whereof,  the  money  of  this  our 
realm  is  daily,  and  of  long  season  hath  been,  by  sundry 
persons  (as  well  our  subjects  as  strangers,  for  their  par- 
ticular gain  and  lucre)  conveyed  out  of  this  realm  into  the 


parts  beyond  the  seas,  and  so  is  likely  to  continue  more' 
and  more,  to  tlie  great  hindrance  of  the  generality  of  our 
•subjects  and  people,  and  to  the  no  little  impoverishing  of 
our  said  realm,  if  the  same  be  not  speedily  remedied  and 
foreseen  :  We,  after  long  debating  of  the  matter  with  you 
and  sundry  other  of  our  council,  and  after  remission  made 
unto  outward  princes  for  reformation  thereof,  finding 
finally  no  manner  of  remedy  to  be  had  at  their  hands, 
have,  by  mature  deliberation,  determined  that  our  coins 
and  moneys  (as  well  of  gold  as  of  silver)  shall  be,  by 
our  ofiicer  of  our  mint,  from  henceforth  made  of  such 
fineness,  lay  (alloy),  standard,  and  value,  as  may  be 
equivalent,  correspondent,  and  agreeable  to  the  rates  of 
the  valuations  enhanced  and  raised  in  outward  parts,  as 
is  afore  specified.'^ 

It  will  be  recollected  that  during  the  Empire  the  supreme 
right  of  coinage  was  vested  in  the  Augustus,  or  Basileus-, 
who,  in  fact,  never  permitted  the  gold,  or  full  legal-tender, ' 
•coinage  to  go  out  of  his  hands;  and  that  during  the  mediasval 
period  (after  a.d.  1204)  it  fell  to  the  various  princes  and 
prelates  who  had  inherited  the  prerogatives  of  the  dead 
I  Empire.  We  shall  next  see  it  fall  under  the  control  of 
/the  Dutch  and  English  merchants. 

Under  the  private  coinage  law  of  the  republic,  the  bank 
■of  Amsterdam,  a  private  institution,  received  deposits  of  ! 
any  kind  of  silver  coins,  giving  credit  only  for  the  fine 
metal  contained  in  them,  and  measuring  its  value  in  sols 
banco  of  twenty  to  the  Dutch  florin.  Its  payments  were 
made  upon  the  same  basis.  The  bank  also  received  gold 
coins  on  deposit,  valuing  them  (in  sols  banco)  at  what 
they  actually  fetched  in  the  mart  of  Amsterdam.  This 
system  deprived  the  gold  and  silver  coins  of  Holland 
of  such  part  of  their  value  as  they  had  previously  de- 
rived from  royal  seal,  proclamation,  and  seigniorage. 
It  swept  away  alike  the  sacred  effigies  of  Eome  and 
Byzantium,  the  heretical  inscriptions  of  Julin  and  j 
\Bardewic,  the   unjust  valuations  of  Madrid  and  Sevilla, 

I .  THE    NETHERLANDS.  351 

and  tlie  temptation  everywhere  to  tamper  with  any 
money  destined  for  use  in  Holland.  Indeed,  it  destroyed 
money  altogether;  it  made  a  market  value  for  the 
: precious  metals,  a  thing  hitherto  unknown;  it  practi- 
cally established  unlimited  coinage,  and  thus  substituted 
metal,  in  place  of  money,  as  the  measure  of  value. 

These  revolutionary  acts  met  with  such  immediate  and 
marked  success  that  they  soon  afterwards  influenced  the 
legislation  of  other  States.  Hitherto  the  precious  metals 
.obtained  in  Amei-ica  had  vainly  sought  to  evade  the 
coinage  exactions  of  the  European  princes ;  now  the 
door  of  escape  was  open;  they  had  only  to  be  sent  to 
Holland,  turned  into  guilders  and  ducats,  and  credited  as 
silver  metal  under  the  name  of  sols  banco.  But  as  the 
Spaniards  and  Portuguese  still  controlled  the  American 
mines,  and  jealously  conveyed  their  precious  products  to 
the  mints  of  the  mother  country,  how  were  they  to  be 
practically  diverted  to  Holland  ?  The  Dutch  fleets  and 
their  allies,  the  buccaneers  of  the  West  Indies,  at  once 
answered  this  question,  and  the  early  settlers  of  New 
I  Amsterdam  could  have  told  many  a  tale  as  to  how  the 
I  plunder  was  safely  transported  to  Holland.  At  a  later 
'period,  when  the  English  took  New  York,  this  class  of 
•bullion  was  quietly  removed  into  Massachusetts,  and  there 
: converted  into  honest  "pine-tree"  shillings. 

Under  the  stimulus  of  "  free "  coinage,  an  immense 
quantity  of  the  precious  metals  now  found  their  way  to 
Holland,  and  a  local  rise  of  prices  ensued,  which  found 
one  form  of  expression  in  the  curious  mania  of  buying 
tulips  at  prices  often  exceeding  that  of  the  ground  on 
which  they  were  grown.  So  rapidly  did  the  influence 
of  Dutch  "free"  coinage  extend,  that  it  induced  the  king 
of  Spain  to  concede  to  his  American  colonies  a  right  which 
had  descended  from  the  pagan  gods  to  the  pagan  emperors, 
and  from  the  pagan  and  Christian  emperors  to  the  inde- 
pendent princes  who  had  seized  the  fragments  of  the 
Empire,  but  which  had  never  yet  been  conferred  upon  a 


Christian  vassal  or  vassal  state.^  This  was  the  right  to 
coin  gold,  a  right  which  was  conceded  to  the  American 
viceroys  b}^  the  royal  ordinance  of  1608.  But  we  have 
not  yet  done  with  the  tulip  mania.  In  1648,  when  the 
Peace  of  Westphalia  acknowledged  the  independence  of 
the  Dutch  republic,  the  latter  stopped  the  "  free  "  coinage 
of  silver  florins  and  only  permitted  it  for  gold  ducats, 
which  in  Holland  had  no  legal  value.  This  legislation 
discouraged  the  imports  of  silver  bullion,  checked  the 
rise  of  prices,  and  put  an  end  to  the  tulip  mania."  How- 
ever, it  had  other  and  far  more  important  results.  During 
the  wars  which  ensued  between  Holland  and  England,  the 
Jatter  found  so  many  reasons  for  admiring  the  government 
and  administration  of  its  rival,  that  it  commenced  to  copy 
them  in  every  detail,  in  some  cases  where  the  advantages 
of  imitation  were  doubtful,  or  had  passed  away.  The 
English  deposed  their  king  and  established  a  i-epublic 
in  1653  :  they  planted  colonies  in  America  to  rival  those 
of  the  Dutch  ;  they  chartered  their  East  India  company 
on  the  same  lines  as  the  Dutch ;  they  encouraged  Morgan 
and  other  buccaneers  to  pillage  the  Spanish  plate-ships 
and  settlements  ;  and  they  adopted  ''  free "  coinage. 
The  English  commercial  literature  of  this  period — for 
example,  the  works  of  Sir  Josiah  Child,  Andrew 
Yarranton,  and  others — is  filled  with  suggestions  to 
follow  the  policy  of  the  Dutch,  whether  as  to  colonies, 
navigation,  banking,  interest  laws,  coinage,  warehouses, 
or  land  registries  ;  and  all  of  these  measures  were  soon 
afterwards  enacted  in  England,  except  the  last  one,  which 
still  hangs  fire.      Holland   had  dropped  '^free^'  mintage 

>  The  emperor  Charles  IV,  of  Germany,  1347-78,  "  gave  to  all  the 
members  of  the  empire  the  privilege  of  issuing  gold  coins  with  any 
stamp  they  choose  "  (Partington,  on  the  ducat).  This  was  quite  super- 
fluous, for  in  fact  most  of  the  members  of  the  empire  had  usui-ped  this 
privilege  a  century  previously. 

-  This  mania  had  already  been  discouraged  by  a  resolution  of  the 
States-General,  dated  April  27th,  1637,  which  threw  some  difficulties  in 
the  way  of  enforcing  time-bargains  in  tulips. 


for  legal-tender  coins  in  1648  ;  even  France  afterwards 
,tried  it  in  1679,  only  to  drop  it  in  1689.  England,  under 
the  influence  of  its  favoured  classes,  adopted  it  in  1666, 
and  held  on  to  it  until,  through  other  means,  she  had 
gained  the  commercial  supremacy  of  the  world,  and  was 
enabled  (chiefly  during  the  last  and  present  centuries)  to 
urge  it  upon  other  states.      Then  she  dropped  silver. 

The  monetary  system  of  the  Netherlands,  which  began 
with  the  Eepublic,  consisted,  first,  of  demonetising  gold — 
.an   act  in  which   can   be   perceived   more    of   resentment 
;against  the  arbitrary  decrees  of  the  Spanish  monarch  than 
wisdom  in  laying   the  foundations  of  a  state.      Second,  it 
■consisted  of  pasteboard  dollars,  which  were  issued  in  1574, 
iduring   the   siege    of   Leyden,  and  of  which  some  half-a- 
dozen  specimens  are  now  in  the  British  Museum  collection. 
These   "  greenbacks ''  of    the   revolution   the    Hollanders 
preferred  to  keep,  rather  than   exchange   for  coins — ad 
perpetuam    liherationis     divinse   memoriam — in    perpetual 
memory  of  their  divine  liberation   from  tyranny.^      That 
jthey   circulated   beyond    the    precincts    of    Leyden,    and 
effected  an  important  augmentation  of  the  currency  and  a 
rise  of  prices,  is  attested  by  the  following  quotations  from 
jBudelius    (p.    269)  :     The    gold    real,    1579,    45   stivers  ; 
1580,  46 ;   1583,  47^  ;     1586,  52  ;    and    1590,    53   stivers. 
The    Philips   silver    thaler,    1579,   43    stivers ;    1580,   45 ; 
1583,  47  ;   and  1586,   50  stivers.      Here  we  see  a  gradual 
rise  in  the  value  of  both  gold  and  silver  coins.     In  what  ? 
Certainly  not   in   either   gold  or  silver  stivers,  but  in  cur- 

'  Borniti,  de  Xummis,  ed.  1605,  i,  p.  15.  The  revolutionaiy  moneys 
of  Leyden  were  of  white  pasteboard,  round,  about  If  inches  in  diameter 
and  stamped  or  embossed  to  resemble  a  coin.  They  took  their  origin 
in  the  first,  but  were  perfected  during  the  second,  siege — that  of  1574. 
Their  denominations  were  24  and  40  stivei-s.  The  former  bore  on  one 
side,  "Haec.  liberatis  ergo,"  on  the  other  "  Godt  behoede  Leyden,"  or 
God  protect  Leyden.  The  latter  had  the  city  arms  on  one  side,  and 
"  Pugno  propatria  "  on  the  other  (Davies'  "  Hist.  Holland,"  London, 
1842,  ii,  pp.  9,  10).  Silver  pieces  of  the  same  stamp  as  the  pasteboard 
ones  were  also  issued  ("  Catalogue  Schulthess-Eechberg,"  7048). 



rency,  and  that  currency  necessarily  of  something  else. 
Under  the  circumstances  that  something  else  could  only 
liave  been  wholly  or  partly  of  paper. 

Thirdly,  the  Dutch  system  consisted  of  silver  coins 
struck  by  the  State,  both,  on  its  own  account  and  for  the 
account  of  individuals  ("free"  coinage),  and  therefore 
without  limit  as  to  numbers.  These  coins — guilders  and 
their  multiples,  namely,  the  ducatou,  the  reichsthaler, 
etc. — were  legal- tendei'S  to  any  amount.  There  was  also 
"  free  '^  or  individual  coinage  of  gold ;  but  as  coins  of 
this  metal  were  no  longer  legal-tender  in  Holland,  they 
were  struck  for  circulation  in  other  states,  who,  in  using 
them,  escaped  the  seigniorage  and  other  coinage  exactions 
of  their  sovereigns.  Fourthly,  subsidiary  coins  of  silver 
and  copper,  which  the  Dutch  State  struck  only  for  itself. 
Fifthly,  the  banking  system,  already  described. 

At  the  period  when  the  decrees  of  Charles  V,  so  greatly 
and  suddenly  raised  the  value  of  gold  coins,  Thomas 
Gresham,  an  English  mercer  and  financier,  was  applied 
to  by  the  ministers  of  Edward  VI.  of  England  for  a  loan 
of  money.  In  the  third  year  of  his  reign  this  boy  king 
had  arbitrarily  raised  the  value  of  his  silver  coins  to  a 
ratio  of  5"  15  for  1  of  gold  ;  in  his  fourth  year  to  4*82 
for  1  ;  and  in  his  fifth  year  to  2*41  for  1.-^  The  profit 
made  by  the  king  in  these  transactions  was,  in  the  first 
instance,  113^  per  cent. ;  in  the  second,  128  per  cent. ;  and 
in  the  third,  356  per  cent."  Gresham  w^as  unable  to  comply 
with  the  ministers'  request,  but  said  he  thought  he  could 
raise  the  money  in  Antwerp.  Accordingly,  he  was  com- 
missioned to  proceed  thither  and  effect  the  loan.  He 
remained  in  Antwerp  until  after  the  death  of  the  king  and 
fall  of  the  ministry,  meanwhile  advising  them,  what  he 
had  not  ventured  to  set  forth  in  London,  namely,  that  a 
bad  money  will  drive  away  good ;  and  that  before  he 
could  procure  the  needful  loan  in  Holland,  it  was  necessary 
for  Edward  to  reform  his  monetary  system.  This  cor- 
\Lovd  Liverpool,  p.  101.  ^  ib^d.,  pp.  101,  102.  •  , 


frespondence  lias  been  lauded  by  Mi-.  Henry  Dunning 
MacLeod  with  fulsome  praise,  and  the  first  portion  of  it 
formulated  into  what  he  has  called  ''  the  Gresham  law." 
iThat  bad  money,  when  made  lawful,  will  drive  away  good, 
by  causing  the  latter  to  be  hoarded,  is  a  law  or  principle 
of  money  which  will  be  found  in  the  ''  Frogs  "  of  Aristo- 
Iphanes  andthe  "Maxims"  of  Theognis  written  some  eighteen 
or  twenty  centuries  before  Gresham's  time;  a  principle 
that  every  tradesman  in  the  interval  had  learnt  by 
'heart. ^ 

For  example,  in  1341,  after  the  emission  of  black  money 
|by  Edward  III,  a  great  mass  of  sterlings  and  silver  plate 
twas  collected  in  London  and  Boston,  for  private  convey- 
■ance  to  the  Continent;  in  other  words,  the  bad  money  drove 
(out  the  good  ;  and  everybody  knew  it.^  This  law  applies 
equally  to  cabbages.  It  is  not  a  law  of  money,  but  a 
truism  that  applies  to  all  things.  However,  Gresham's 
pmarks,  perhaps,  had  the  effect  to  bring  about  that 
'permanence  of  the  English  monetary  system,  for  which 
Elizabeth  afterwards  received  so  much  credit ;  that  prin- 
bess  having  merely  "  completed  the  plan  of  reform  which 
'Edward  had  projected  (or  assented  to)  and  had  begun  to 
barry  into  execution."^ 

Gresham  successively  served  Mary  and  Elizabeth  ;  and 
oy  the  latter  was  honoured  with  knighthood.  But  did  he 
5erve  the  English  people  ;  did  he  serve  the  interests  of 
:he  State  ?  Not  at  all.  He  was  faithful  only  to  his 
>wn  class,  the  money-lenders  of  London.  Not  a  word 
ippears  in  his  correspondence  of  the  tremendous  monetary 
•evolution  that  was  then  brewing  in  Holland;  not  a  word 
)f  the  imperial  edicts  that  had  raised  the  value  of 
mperial  gold  from  9  or  10  to  11|,  and  from  llf  to  13^  ; 
lot  a  word  of  the  resistance  to  these  unjust  decrees,  or  of 

1  "  Maxims  of  Theognis,"  line  21  :  "  Nov  will  any  one  take  in  exchange 
rorse  when  better  is  to  be  had." 
-  "  Middle  Ages  Revisited,"  chap.  xix. 
^  Lord  Liverpool,  p.  104. 


the  fact  that  tlie  regalian  prerogative,  which  jurisconsults 
and  statesmen  in  all  ages  had  shown  to  be  indispensable 
to  the  exercise  of  independent  sovereignty,  was  in  jeo- 
pardy of  falling  into  the  hands  of  Dutch  monopolists,  and 
might  afterwards  fall,  as  it  did  fall,  into  the  hands  of 
English  ones.  This  was  the  prerogative  of  coinage. 
Gresham  was  silent  on  this  subject  ,  and  his  silence  on 
such  a  subject  far  outweighs  the  merits  of  that  "discovery" 
for  which  his  admirers  have  claimed  him  so  much 

But,  indeed,  who  has  properly  written  the  history  of 
Gresham's  times  ;  who  has  dived  into  this  supernal  but 
obscure  subject  of  money,  except  men  of  the  very  same 
class  who  profited  in  pocket  by  the  Dutch  Revolution,  its 
institution  of  private  coinage  and  the  subsequent  private 
control  of  bank  issues  ?  Nobody.  Is  it  yet  clearly 
understood  that  whatever  degradation  of  money  was 
committed  by  the  emperors,  whatever  debasement  was 
afterwards  committed  by  the  kings,  these  have  since  been 
vastly  exceeded  by  the  dishonest  use  made  of  ''individual'' 
coinage  and  the  control  of  bank  issues  ?  Not  at  all.  The 
Emperors  of  Rome  controlled  the  emissions  of  European 
money  for  thirteen  centuries,  and  the  kings  and  dukes  foi 
nearly  four  centuries  afterwards  ;  whilst  the  userers  have 
held  it,  to  the  present  time,  for  about  two  centuries.  It 
is  not  too  much  to  say  that  during  these  two  centuries 
greater  monetary  changes  have  been  made  and  more 
losses  have  been  occasioned  to  the  industrial  classes  oJ 
the  European  world  than  were  made  by  all  the  degrada- 
tions and  debasements  of  the  Imperial  and  regal  periods 
put  together.  Monetary  systems  have  been  changed  fron 
gold  to  silver,  from  silver  to  gold,  and  from   both  silvei 

^  Gresham  remained  in  Antwerp  until  1553.  In  1553  Mary,  and  ii 
1558  Elizabeth,  ascended  the  throne.  In  the  last-named  year  Greshan 
was  sent  as  ambassador  to  Parma,  and  in  1559  he  was  knighted  (T.  F' 
Burgon,  "Life  and  Times  of  Sir  Thomas  Gresham,"  London,  1839,  ' 
vols,  8vo ;  Ward's  "  Lives  of  the  Gresham  Professors,"  p.  8). 


and  gold  to  paper ;  tens  of  tliousands  of  worthless  banks 
have  been  erected,  thousands  of  millions  of  worthless 
notes  have  been  issued,  and  the  entire  products  of 
industry  have  been  seized  and  perverted  to  the  enrichment 
of  a  class,  who  know  only  how  to  scheme,  to  undermine, 
and  to  appropriate  the  eaimings  of  mankind.  The  right 
to  issue  money  needs  a  radical  reform  ;  and  the  State 
which  reforms  it  first  will  secure  for  its  citizens  far  greater 
advantages  than  can  be  derived  from  Zollvereins,  tariff 
bills,  or  any  other  kind  of  commercial  legislation.  "  The 
control  of  money,"  says  an  eloquent  writer  on  the  subject, 
^'is  the  ground  upon  which  an  international  or  cosmo- 
politan combination  '  finances  '  the  world  and  •'  farms  ' 
humanity.'^  ^ 

Writing  in  1776,  Adam  Smith  was  at  great  pains  to 
inform  us  what  a  strong  institution  was  the  ''  burghers," 
Bank  of  Amsterdam,  how  "  for  every  guilder  in  gold  or 
silver  to  circulate  as  bank  money,  there  is  a  correspondent 
guilder  in  gold  or  silver  to  be  found  in  the  bank.  The 
City  is  guarantee  that  it  should  be  so.  The  bank  is  under 
the  direction  of  the  four  reigning  burgomasters,  who  are 
changed  every  year.  Each  new  set  of  burgomasters  visits 
the  treasure,  compares  it  with  the  books,  receives  it  upon 
oath  and  delivers  it  over  with  the  same  awful  solemnity 
to  the  set  which  succeeds ;  and  in  that  sober  and  religious 
country  oaths  are  not  yet  disregarded.  A  rotation  of 
this  kind  seems  alone  a  sufficient  security  against  any 
practices  which  cannot  be  avowed.  Amidst  all  the  revo- 
lutions which  faction  has  ever  occasioned  in  the  govern- 
ment of  Amsterdam,  the  prevailing  party  has  at  no  time 
accused  their  predecessors  of  infidelity  in  the  administra- 
tion of  the  bank.  Xo  accusation  could  have  affected 
more  deeply  the  reputation  and  fortune  of  the  disgi*aced 
party  ;  and  if  such  accusation  could  have  been  supported, 
we  may  be  assured  that  it  would  have  been  brought.      In 

^  Reginald  Fenton,  Esq.,  formerly  of  Kimberly,  South  Africa,  now  of 
San  Diego,  California. 


1672,  when  tlie  Frencli  king  was  at  Utrecht^  tlie  Bank  of: 
Amsterdam  paid  so  readily,  as  left  no  doubt  of  the 
fidelity  with  which  it  had  observed  its  engagements.  Public 
utilit}^  and  not  revenue  was  the  original  object  of  this 
institution.'^  Alas,  for  Dutch  burgher  patriotism,  and 
the  credulity  of  our  great  Scotch  sophist  !  When,  four- 
teen years  later,  that  is  to  say,  in  1790,  the  French  again 
invaded  Holland,  they  found  the  bank  empty  and  insolvent. 
Even  whilst  Adam  Smith  was  penning  his  panegyrics,  it 
was  secretly  loaning  away  bullion  which  belonged  to  its 
depositors  and  noteholders.  Its  pious  burgomasters  were 
forsworn,  the  City  was  dishonoured,  and  the  world 
received  its  hundredth  useless  lesson  on  the  folly  of  trusting? 
to  the  stability  of  a  monetary  system  which  is  not 
absolutely  under  the  thumb  of  the  State. 

Coinage  Ratios  in  the  Low   Countries  (after   1579   in 
Holland  only). 






Saxon  8 


Revolt  of  the  Frisians  against  fiscal  exactions 
of  the  Romans.  The  Roman  imperial  ratio 
was  always  12  silver  =:  1  gold  ;  but  silver 
bore  a  higher  value  in  the  Eastern  trade  of 
the  Baltic,  and  the  Frisians  (possibly  from 
choice)  paid  their  tributes  in  ox-hides 
("  Tac.  Ann.,"  iv,  c.  72).  The  prevalent 
ratio  of  the  Baltic  was  8  for  1  ("  Anc. 
Brit.,"  chap.  xvii). 

Revolt  of  Carausius  the  Menapian.  The  mark 
of  silver  coins  was  in  use  as  early,  at  least, 
as  this  date  (vide  Agricola,  writing  about 
1550).  Its  substitution  for  the  Roman  libra 
of  account,  which  now  consisted  of  5  gold 
solidi,  each  of  about  90  grains  fine,  or  else 
12  times  their  weight  in  silver,  implies  a 
local  ratio  of  8  for  1. 

In  the  pagan  coinages  of  Friesland,  Jutland, 
etc.,  there  were  8  silver  siccals,  saigas '  or 

^  According  to  the  German  law,  vi,  3,  "  the  siiiga  (or  sjiica)  is  the  foui-thi 
part  of  the  tremissis  ;  it  is  one  denarius,  and  two  saigas  are  two  denarii. 


















iesterlings,  each  of  about  ISi  grains  fine, 
to  the  gull  siccal,  or  skillingar,  of  the  same 
weight :  a  ratio  of  8  for  1. 

Foi-ty  silver  deniers,  each  of  171  grains  fine 
(300  to  the  livre  weight)  equal  1  imperial 
solidus  (now)  of  about  70  grains  fine  :  a 
ratio  of  10  for  1  "  Anon.  Chron.  Aqui- 
taine,"  written  in  843  and  alluding  to  the 
period  previous  to  Pepin's  monetary  reform 
of  AD.  754-68.  Same  authority,  for  same 
period,  gives  25,  instead  of  the  ancient  20, 
quarter-solidi  to  the  livre  of  account;  lead- 
ing to  an  inference  that  the  Basileus  struck 
light  gold  shillings  to  compensate  for  the 
heretical  ratios  of  the  North. 

De  Vienne,  "  Livre  d' Argent,"  p.  23. 

Pepin  struck  264  deniers  from  the  Roman 
pound  weight  and  valued  them  at  40  to  the 
solidus  (now)  of  66^  grains  fine  :  a  ratio  of 
12.  The  gold  shillings  were  valued  at  22 
to  the  livre  of  account,  of  which  the  mint- 
master  took  one  for  himself,  a  proof  that 
they  were  still  light  (DeVienne,pp.20,  21). 

Decretale  precum.  Charlemagne,  in  this  de- 
cree, re-established  the  value  of  the  gold 
shilling  at  20  to  the  libra :  he  afterwards 
attempted  to  raise  the  value  of  these  pieces 
by  valuing  them  at  16  to  the  libra ;  but 
judging  from  the  equivalents  given  in  the 
Saxon  and  Frisian  Codes,  which  he  altered 
at  this  period,  the  attempt  failed  (De 
Vienne,  p.  42). 

Last  year  of  Charlemagne.  Petition  of 
Council  of  Rheims  against  light  solidi,  which 
would  not  pass  for  40  deniers  (De  Vienne, 
p.  36).  Imaginary  scheme  of  international 
money  (ibid.). 

Unique  solidus  of  Louis  Debonnaire  of  sus- 
piciously fine  execution,  in  Paris  collection. 
Were  this  srenuine  it  would  be  the  last  gold 

A  tremissis  is  the  third  part  of  a  solidus  and  equals  four  denarii."  The 
manuscript  which  gives  this  valuation  is  of  rather  a  low  date.  The 
Bavarian  law  of  a  much  earlier  period  accords  to  the  saica  the  value  of 
three  denarii  :  "  Si  una  saica,  id  est  tres  denarios  furaverit.  ...  Si  duas 
id  est  sex  denarios  "  (Tit.  ix.  Art.  3,  4).  There  can  be  little  doubt  that, 
still  more  anciently,  the  saica  was  the  sicca  of  the  Orient  which  found 
its  way  through  Tartary  to  the  Baltic  and  there  became  degraded. 


^^"«'^'        Ratio. 






13th  Cent. 











9@  10 


coin  struck  by  any  Christian  prince,  except 
the  Basileus,  until  a.d.  1225. 
Charles  the  Bald  :  Edict  of  Pistes. 
Inferential  valuation  of  the  besant  in  the 
ducal  silver  coins  of  Holland,    Flanders, 
Brabant,  etc. 
Poid  de  marc,  a  weight  derived  from  marks 
(coins)    introduced    into     France     under 
Philip  I.     Down  to  this  time  it  was  only 
used  in  the  Netherlands  and  England.    Du 
Cange  ;  Saigey  ;   De  Vienne,  58. 
Hanseatic  money.    The  ratio  under  the  pagan 
Hansa  was  probably  8  for  1 :  under  the 
Christian  Hansa,  at  first,  probably  10  for  1 
("Anc.  Britain"). 
Fall  of  Constantinople  :  end  of  the  pontifico- 
imperial  monopoly  of  coining  gold  for  the 
Roman  world. 
Jutland  Code  of  13th  century. 
Xumerous  changes   of  the  ducal  mint-laws 
during  this  and  the  two  following  centuries, 
the  prevailing  ratios  being  8  to  10  silver  for 
1  gold.     In  1284  the  earl  of  Holland  and 
Zealand    purchased     silver     in     England 
(Andei'son's    "  Hist,    of   Commerce,"    sub 
From  valuation  of  the  gold  noble  of  Edward 
III.  of  England,  in  the  ports  of  Flandei-s 
("  Middle  Ages  Revisited  "). 
Burgundian  period  of  Flandei-s  1384  to  1477. 
The  prevailing  ratio  was,  however,  10  silver 
for  1  gold 
Earlier  coinages  under  the  German  imperial 
house  of  Hapsburg.     The  ratio  in  England 
(4  Edward  IV.),  year  1464,  was  10|  for  1. 
Later  Hapsburg  coinages.     Edict  of  Breda  by 
Masimillian,  Dec.  14th.  Abortive  attempt 
to  re-establish  the  Caesarian  ratio. 
Gold  nobles  (half-marks)  and  silver  groots  of 
Flanders,    Lorrain,    Bar,    etc.,    ratio    10 ; 
ducat  on,  ratio  9  for  1. 
Charles  V. :  earlier  coinages. 
Charles  V.  Edict  of  Esslingen,  June  19th,  rais- 
ing the  value  of  bis  gold  coins. 
Charles  V.      The  Holland  mark-weight  of 
3797"2  English  grains  was  this  year  offi- 
cially compared  with  the    Paris  mark  of 
3777'5  English  grains ;    and  the   former 





















found  to  be  19'7  grains  heavier  (Boissard, 
p.  259).  If  the  mark-weight  developed 
from  the  mark  of  coins  ("  Anc.  Brit.,"  ch. 
xvii),  the  superior  weight  of  the  Holland 
over  the  Saxony  mark-weight  probably 
arose  when  Pepin  compelled  12  instead  of 
11  esterlings  to  be  paid  for  a  gull  skil- 
lingar.  The  Amsterdam  mark-weight 
was  3798  English  grains. 

Edict  of  Esslingen  by  Charles  V.  Degraded 
Carolus  dollars  354^  grains  gross,  or  3021 
grains  fine  silver,  valued  at  20  stivers  or 
one  gulden  of  about  30  grains  fine  gold. 

Edict  of  Charles  V,  again  raising  the  value 
of  his  gold  coins. 

Thomas  Gresham  at  Antwerp  (Spanish  go- 
vernment begins,  1555). 

Abdication  of  Charles  V. 

Confederation  of  Dutch  leaders  against 
Spanish  government. 

Revolution.  Mercantile  system  of  indi- 
vidual or  "  free "  coinage.  Gold  demo- 

Pasteboard  revolutionary  money  of  Leyden. 

Union  of  Utrecht:  separation  of  Belgium. 

The  right  of  coinage,  previously  conferred  by 
imperial  authority  upon  the  counts  of 
Holland,  transferred  to  the  Spanish  crown 
by  Philip  II,  king  of  Spain  and  heredi- 
tary covint  of  Holland  ;  an  act  that  further 
incensed  the  Hollanders. 

"Market"  or  conflict  ratio  of  114  (Desro- 

Philip  III,  of  Spain,  cedes  the  Netherlands  to 
Albert  of  Austria  and  the  Infanta  Isabella. 

Wissel  Bank  of  Amsterdam. 

After  the  Edict  of  Esslingen  the  coins  were 
greatly  clipped,  and  both  the  Wissel  Bank 
and  the  Bank  of  Amsterdam,  which  this 
year  superseded  it,  were  established,  among 
other  objects,  to  remedy  this  evil. 

Rise  of  the  Buccaneers ;  numerous  captures 
of  plate  ;  and  opening  of  Dutch  oriental 
trade  by  sea.  Immense  sums  of  gold  and 
silver  obtained  from  Japan. 

Spanish  plate-galleons  captured  nearMatanzas 
with  several  million  livres  in  gold  and  silver 
(Van  Loon). 















"Market"  or  conflict  ratio  12A  for  1  (Desro- 
toiirs,  1785  ;  Gaudin,  1803). 

Independence  of  Holland  recognised  by  Spain. 
Individual  coinage  limited  to  gold,  which, 
however,  at  the  mint  ratio  of  14-45,  is 
undervalued  as  compared  with  foreign 
mints.  (The  Spanish  mint  ratio  of  1650 
was  15  for  1.) 

Most  of  the  gold  ducats  of  the  German  states 
now  struck  in  Holland  for  individual  ac- 

Newton's  repoi-t  gives  the  ducat  or  5 -florin 
gold  piece,  stamped  "  Legem  Imperii,"  at 
52"39  grains  fine,  and  the  silver  florin  at 
148-9  grains  fine ;  a  ratio  of  14-31  (Kelly, 
ii,  p.  153,  hints  at  Inexact  Assays : 
this  might  account  for  the  discrepancy). 
Newton  also  says  the  ducats  were  current 
in  Holland  for  5^  guilders.  This  is  evi- 
dently correct,  and  indicates  a  "  mint- 
conflict  "  ratio,  or  so-called  "  market "  ratio, 
of  14-92.  The  imports  of  gold  noticed  by 
him  were  due  in  some  measure  to  the  large 
foreign  coinage  of  ducats  in  Holland. 

Desrotours  says  14-45 ;  Dutot  says  14-67 ; 
which  last  is  incorrect. 


Hamilton's  Report  of  this  year  says  14-90 ; 
evidently  the  "conflict,"  not  the  "coin- 
age," ratio.  Gold  coins  being  now  greatly 
undervalued,  as  compared  with  foreign 
mints,  they  cease  to  circulate  in  Holland. 

Law  of  December  15th.  "  Double  standard  " 
under  Louis,  king  of  Holland.  Gold  400- 
stiver  piece  193-4  grains  fine.  Silver  50- 
stivers  should  contain  406f  grains  fine ; 
actual  contents  (Kelly)  367'9  grains  fine: 
ratio  15-2  for  1. 

Union  with  Belgium.  Mint  Act,  September 
28th,  1816.  The  "  William  "  of  10  florins 
was  to  contain  93-465  grains  fine  gold  ;  the 
florin  148-39  grains  fine  silver:  legal  ratio 
15-8765.  The  assays  of  Eckfeldt  and  Du 
Bois  gave  but  46-52  grains  fine  to  the 
ducat,  and  14874  grains  fine  to  the  florin  : 
actual  coinage  ratio  15-98.  Gold  coinage 
for  individuals  stopped.  Silver  coinage 
for  individuals  (one  and  three-florin  pieces) 


















again  permitted.  Chevalier,  p.  155,  savs 
that  there  was  no  gold  in  circulation  until 
1839.  Foundation  of  New  (present)  Bank 
of  the  Netherlands,  1814. 

Separation  of  Belgium. 

Gold  coins  again  circulate  in  Holland  (Cheva- 
lier;  Yrolik). 

Eussian  gold  "  scare."  Mint  Act,  September 
26th,  1847.  Gold  demonetised.  _  The 
silver  florin  lowered  to  145-85  grains  fine 
(Schmidt's  "  Tate's  Cambist ;"  Del.  Mar's 
"Money  and  Civilisation,"  p.  17). 

Gold  coins  melted  and  sold  at  a  loss  of  ten 
million  florins  (Vrolik). 

Gold  coins  again  cease  to  circulate  in  Holland 
(Chevalier,  pp.  78,  149). 

Nevada  silver  "  scare."  In  accordance  with 
an  Act  of  the  previous  year  the  individual 
coinage  of  silver  was  this  year  suspended. 

Mint  Act,  June  6th.  Ten-florin  gold  coins 
to  contain  93-334  grains  fine,  and  open  to 
individual  coinage.  Mint  still  closed  to 
individual  coinage  of  silver.  Old  silver 
coins  not  demonetised  ("Etalon  boiteux," 

Same  provisions  extended  to  Colonial  coinage 

A  poi-tion  of  the  circulating  silver  aiithorised 
to  be  melted  and  sold,  in  order  to  buy  gold 
for  bank  payments. 

The  money  of  Holland  now  consists  chiefly  of 
paper  notes,  about  £16,000,000,  secured  by 
a  "  reserve  "  in  gold  and  supplemented  by 
a  subsidiary  silver  circulation.  Population 
about  4i  millions,  exclusive  of  Colonies. 
The  home  circulation  fluctuates  between 
£3  and  £4  per  capita,  coins  and  paper  com- 

From  this  table  it  ^ill  be  observed  that  the  ratio  in  the 
Netherlands,  from  the  earliest  times  nearly  to  the  reign 
of  Pepin,  was  8  for  1  ;  in  the  early  part  of  the  Carlo- 
vingian  era,  about  12  for  1  ;  between  that  period  and  the 
fall  of    Constantinople,  from   8   to    10   for   1  ;   during  the 


ducal  period  about  10  for  1  ;  and  that  it  was  fixed  by- 
Charles  V.  at  134-,  whereupon  gold  was  demonetised 
through  the  influence  of  the  East  Indian  traders  and  the 
burghers.  Since  that  time  the  ratio  in  Holland  has  fol- 
lowed that  of  Spain  and  France.^ 

In  Holland  the  history  of  the  ratio  is  almost  the  whole- ' 
history  of  money.      It  was  the  ratio  that  distinguished  its 
earlier  monetary  systems  from  that  of   Rome  ;   it  was  the 
ratio  that,  until  the  Carlovingian  era^  marked  it  a  pagan 
State,  allied,  by  commerce,  with  the  pagan   cities  of  the 
Baltic  and  the  great  pagan  Hansa,  whose  fleets  transacted 
the    maritime    commerce    of    all    northern    and    western. 
Europe  ;    it  was  the  ratio  that  proclaimed   the   monetary 
systems  of   its  ducal  masters   a   cross  between  that  of  a 
struggling   nationality   and   Imperial   Eome  ;   it   was   the 
ratio  that  fanned  into  a   flame  the  embers  of  that   resist- 
ance  to  Imperial  authority  which  had  been  crushed  under 
foot,  but  had  never  wholly  lost  their  fire  ;  it  was  the  ratio 
by  means  of  which   the   traders  and  money-lenders  first 
asserted  their  undue  importance  in  the  State  ;   and  it  was 
the  ratio,  snatched    by  their    strong    hands  from  the  pre-  - 
rogatives  of  the  Crown,  that  has  enabled  them  to  rule  the  i 
State  and  make  Holland  "  a  nation   of    usurers."      "When  \ 
they  wrested  from  the   Empire  what   is  virtually  the  pre-  ^ 
rogative  of  coinage,  they  demonetised   gold  and  declared  ^ 
silver  coins  alone  fit  for  the  high  function  of  legal-tender  j 
when  the  mqnarchy  of   1816  was  erected,  they  submitted 
to  a  system  of  gold  and   silver  coins  ;    but  no  sooner  did 
the  lapse  of  time  strengthen  their  hands,  and  the  great  yield 
of  the  Russian  gold  mines  afford  them  a  pretext,  than  they  \ 
agitated  and   brought  about    that   reliance  upon  a  single 
metal  (at  a   time)  which    constitutes   the  fulcrum    of   the  ' 
mercantile  system.      Here  the  real  character  of  the  burgher 

^  The  ratios  in  Holland  which  appear  in  Dr.  Adolf   Soetbeer's  works 
are  purely  hypothetical,  and  were  probably   not  intended  to  be  regarded 
as  the  results  of  any  examination  of  the  coinage  laws  or  coinages  of  that  i 


class  discloses  itself.  Their  patriotism  was  not  for  Holland, 
but  for  the  burghers.  Dr.  Vrolik  has  in  vain  endeavoured 
to  defend  them  from  this  imputation,  by  alleging  that  the 
. "  silver  standard  ^'  was  not  adopted  after  the  discovery  of 
gold  in  Califoi-nia,  but  before  it.^  But  he  has  adroitly 
omitted  to  mention  that  it  occurred  upon  the  heels  of  the 
great  discoveries  of  gold  in  the  Ural,  and  that  it  is  dis- 
tinctly traceable  to  that  event.  Leon  Faucher  very 
correctly  attributed  to  this  unpatriotic  class  an  "  insurrec- 
tion of  fear.'^  It  was  fear  for  their  beloved  securities 
that  superinduced  this  measure,  which  cost  the  State  ten 
millions  of  florins  and  the  Dutch  people  ten  thousand 
millions  ;  and  it  was  the  same  craven  fear  that  in  1873 
induced  this  class  to  clamour  for  that  "  gold  standard  " 
which  now  sustains  their  investments,  but  which  lowers 
their  claims  of  patriotism  to  the  sordid  level  of  their 
breeches  pockets. 

The  existing  Bank  of  the  Nethei'lands  was  established 
at  Amsterdam  in  1814,  neai'ly  on  the  plan  of  the  Bank  of 
England.  Its  original  capital,  of  which  the  king  was 
always  to  hold  one-tenth,  was  five  million  florins.  This 
capital  was  doubled  in  1819,  and  has  since  been  increased 
to  twenty  million  florins.  The  bank  has  the  right  to 
strike  coins  for  the  State,  to  issue  circulating  notes, 
discount  bills,  lend  money,  and  deal  in  bullion  and  foreign 
coins.  It  was  this  institution  which,  in  opposition  to  Lord 
Liverpool,  furnished  the  reasons  for  monetising  gold,  and 
for  establishing  the  '' double  standard^'  in  1816;  which 
showed  in  1847  (the  Russian  gold  mines  were  then  very 
productive)  that  gold  was  unfit  for  legal-tender  money  ; 
which  in  1873  (zenith  of  the  Comstock  Lode)  proved,  with 
equal  facility,  that  silver  was  useless,  and  gold  the  only 
proper  metal  for  money ;  and  which  doubtless  stands 
ready,  whenever  the  relative  production  of  silver  shall 
decline,  to  furnish  equally  pliant  arguments  against  more 
plentiful  gold,  and  in  favour  of  scarce  silver.      In  a  paper 

^  Speech  of  Dr.  Vrolik  in  "  Eep.  Inter.  Monetary  Conference,  1881." 


read  by  Professor  H.  B.  Graven,  of  Leyden,  before  the 
British  Association  at  Manchester,  September  7th,  1887,  it 
is  stated  that  in  1881—82  the  Bank's  stock  of  gold  fell  to 
£600,000,  and  that,  to  provide  against  a  recurrence  of 
such  a  calamity,  an  Act  was  passed  in  April,  1884,  which 
empowered  it  "  to  sell  at  market  prices  a  quantity  of 
twenty-five  millions  silver  florins,  when  the  state  of  the 
currency  required  it."  According  to  this  authority,  the 
regulation  of  the  currency  of  Holland  lies  between  the 
Bank  and  the  bullion-brokers.  It  is  a  healthy  national 
constitution  that  can  survive  such  a  combination. 



Until  A.D.  1204  the  right  to  coin  gold  in  Germany  '"'as  a  pontifico- 
imperial  prerogative — It  then  practically  became  a  regalian  right,  which 
in  great  measure  was  absorbed  by  the  two  principal  German  states — 
Legalised  as  a  regalian  right  by  the  Golden  Bull — Exercised  as  such  by 
numerous  princes  and  by  the  burghers,  until  1871,  when  it  was  acquired 
for  North  Germany  by  the  New  Empire — Thereupon  it  was  almost